By Gina Lee Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were up mostly Monday morning, but the worsening COVID-19 pandemic and the prospects for US stimulus measures remain challenges for the global economic recovery. Hong Kong’s was up 1.43% at 9:24 PM ET (2:24 AM GMT). The city’s first lockdown, which affected some 10,000 people living in the Jordan and Yau Ma Tei areas, was lifted earlier in the day when a COVID-19 testing program was completed. China was up 0.39%, while it was down 0.30%, and the country continued to grapple with its latest COVID-19 outbreak. The National Health Commission recorded 124 cases on January 24, up from 80 today and the worst wave of new infections seen since March 2020. Japan gained 0.45% and South Korea increased 1.54%. In Australia, it was up 0.41%. Despite the positive start to the week for stocks, the global economy faces a more difficult start to 2021 than anticipated thanks to the number of new COVID-19 cases globally that show no signs of slowing down and delays in the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine. Doubts are also beginning to emerge about whether US President Joe Biden will rally Republican support to pass his proposed $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package in Congress. The global number of COVID-19 cases is fast approaching 100 million, with the death toll exceeding 2 million as of January 25, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Vaccine launches have been hampered by delays in shipments from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE 🙂 and AstraZeneca PLC (LON 🙂 of their respective vaccines, described by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as “unacceptable” in a Facebook post. (NASDAQ :). Other bad news came when UK Health Minister Matt Hancock warned on Sunday that existing vaccines could be less effective against new variants of COVID-19. “There was one negative COVID-19 news story after another on Friday that equity investors ultimately couldn’t ignore,” said Ray Attrill, head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank (OTC :). Chinese President Xi Jinping will speak at the World Economic Forum’s “Davos Agenda 2021” online event later in the day. Topics to be discussed at the event include fair economic and social systems, as well as digitization and the climate crisis. On the central bank front, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang and European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane will speak at a conference later that day. The Federal Reserve is also due to deliver its policy decision on Wednesday, amid hopes that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will assure investors that monthly purchases of $ 120 billion worth of bonds will not be reduced by the short term. The United States is expected to release a large amount of data during the week, starting with the indices and Tuesday, followed by, and the data will be released on Thursday.