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Gravediggers wearing protective suits prepare to bury the coffin containing the body of Elisa Moreira de Araujo, 79, suspected to have died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Vila Formosa cemetery, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 16, 2020. - Sputnik International

COVID-19 Updates: Worldwide Death Toll Surpasses 600,000 People – Johns Hopkins University

India has confirmed 34,956 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those who have been infected having reached 1,003,832, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

India's death toll from the disease has reached 25,602, with 687 new fatalities being recorded over the past day.

The state of Maharashtra, with 284,281 confirmed cases, remains the most-affected region. It is followed by the southern state of Tamil Nadu, with 156,369 cases, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with 118,645 cases.

A day earlier, India registered 32,695 new coronavirus cases and 606 COVID-19 deaths.

India ranks third in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States and Brazil.

To date, more than 13.3 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, resulting over 580,000 fatalities, according to the World Health Organisation.

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02:23 GMT 18.07.2020

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 736 to 38,310 within the past 24 hours, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

He also said on late Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 7,257 to 331,298 within the same period of time.

"The number of confirmed cases of the disease has reached 331,298, including 38,310 lethal ones," Lopez-Gatell said.

A day earlier, the Latin American nation has recorded 6,406 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 668 fatalities.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 14 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 600,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 736 to 38,310 within the past 24 hours, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

He also said on late Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 7,257 to 331,298 within the same period of time.

"The number of confirmed cases of the disease has reached 331,298, including 38,310 lethal ones," Lopez-Gatell said.

A day earlier, the Latin American nation has recorded 6,406 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 668 fatalities.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 14 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 600,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

00:26 GMT 18.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of people, who have died of the coronavirus disease across the world, has surpassed 600,000 people, Johns Hopkins University said.

The exact number of fatalities stands at 600,665.

The number of worldwide COVID-19 cases has recently exceeded 14 million.

00:12 GMT 18.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The worldwide number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 14 million, Johns Hopkins University says.

The exact number of the coronavirus cases stood at 14,037,021 as of 00:10 GMT on Saturday. More than 593,000 people have died of the disease, the university added.

 The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. The biggest number of cases so far have been registered in the United States, Brazil and India.

23:59 GMT 17.07.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Schools in districts not on a California state COVID-19 watch list will reopen this fall, with mandatory face coverings for students in third grade or higher and everyone subject to social distancing guidelines, Governor Gavin Newsom announced in a press release.

“In California, health data will determine when a school can be physically open – and when it must close – but learning should never stop. Students, staff, and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely,” Newsom said on Friday.

To reopen, schools must be in districts not on the state's “County Monitoring List” for the previous 14 days. The California Department of Public Health compiles the county-by-county list based on six indicators to track local COVID-19 infections, the release said.

All staff and students in 3rd grade and above will be required to wear a mask with students in lower grades “strongly encouraged” to also cover their faces, the release added.

Adults must observe the six-foot social distancing standards, and should students to the extent “practicable.” Everyone entering a school will be screened for the disease and adult staff will undergo COVID-19 testing on an unspecified regular basis, according to the release.

Gavin warned that “most schools” that reopen will likely to close, if only temporarily, at some point during the year when COVID-19 cases increase, so the plan also calls for “rigorous distance learning.”

California recently approved an additional $5.3 billion to help provide computers and connections to students. State law also requires daily live interaction for every child with teachers and other students, the release said.

23:50 GMT 17.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 34,177 to 2,046,328 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.

The death toll has risen by 1,163 to 77,851 people within the same period of time.

A day earlier, Brazil reported about 45,403 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 1,322 new fatalities.

Brazil comes second on a global tally of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has recorded over 3.6 million COVID-19 patients.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.9 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 593,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

23:36 GMT 17.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow has registered 14 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 4,285, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Saturday.

"Another 14 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.

In the previous day, 13 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.9 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 593,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Russia has the fourth biggest number of coronavirus cases – 759,203 ones – with 539,373 recoveries and 12,123 fatalities. The worst-hit nation is the United States with over 3.6 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease. Brazil comes second with more than 2 million infected people, while India third with over 1 million patients.

23:19 GMT 17.07.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Officials have identified 354 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Canadian First Nations communities, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) said in a statement.

"On First Nations communities in provinces, as of July 16, ISC is aware of: 352 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19; 30 hospitalizations; 314 recovered cases," the statement said on Friday.

At the peak of the pandemic, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and other top medical officials expressed concern about how the traditionally underserved communities would be impacted by the deadly pandemic.

As of Friday, Canada has reported more than 109,500 novel coronavirus cases and more than 8,800 virus-related fatalities.

23:09 GMT 17.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkey has registered 926 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, which is the lowest single-day increase since 10 June, the Health Ministry said Friday.

Over the past four days, the daily spike in cases in the country has not exceeded 1,000.

"Today, 926 new COVID-19 cases have been detected. In total, 217,799 have been infected. Eighteen have died, with the death toll totaling 5,458," Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

Another 1,014 patients have recovered over the past day, taking the total to 199,834.

22:54 GMT 17.07.2020

The global coronavirus (COVID-19) tally has increased by one million cases in less than 100 hours, making an overall of 14 million cases, according to Reuters.

The increase is considered the highest in such a short period of time since the beginning of the pandemic in China in late December 2019.

Earlier in the day, the World Health Organization reported a record 237,743 new coronavirus cases worldwide over the past 24 hours alone.

22:51 GMT 17.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A record 237,743 new coronavirus cases were reported worldwide in the past day, taking the global tally past 13.6 million, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The previous all-time high was registered on 12  July when over 230,000 people tested positive for COVID-19.

The new situation report shows that 5,682 coronavirus patients died of related complications in the past 24 hours, with the overall death toll now standing at 585,727.

Americas continue to lead the world in confirmed cases, with a total 7,154,840 and 137,989 daily infections. Europe comes second with over 3 million cases, an increase of 21,719 from the day before.

21:07 GMT 17.07.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian public health officials are concerned by the recent spike in novel coronavirus cases across the country, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo told reporters on Friday.

"When we examine recent trends in case reporting, there is some cause for concern. After a period of steady decline, daily case counts have started to rise," Njoo said.

Njoo noted that the daily average of new cases rose to an average of 350 over the last week, up from an average of 300 observed in early July. More than 430 cases were reported on Thursday, he said.

Njoo attributed the spike to the rising number of cases linked to parties, nightclubs and bars as well as a growing number of young adults under the age of 40 contracting the disease.

"Singing, mingling and dancing in close contact with others in closed spaces and crowded places is not the way to party this summer. These are ideal conditions for the spread of COVID-19," Njoo said, urging Canadians not to squander the progress made in fighting the virus.

The rising case count comes as provinces continue to move forward with their reopening plans. As of Friday, Canada has reported more than 109,500 COVID-19 cases and more than 8,800 COVID-19-related fatalities.

21:03 GMT 17.07.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) said on Friday that approximately 2,500 COVID-19 cases and 90 related fatalities have been registered among 54 indigenous communities of the country.

"In total, 2,500 confirmed cases of infections, 90 deaths and 1,330 recoveries," the ONIC said.

According to the organization's data, nearly 400,000 families from indigenous communities are at high-risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are over 1.9 million indigenous people in Colombia, or 4.4 percent of the population, according to the country’s latest census.

Overall, Colombia has so far registered over 173,000 COVID-19 cases and 6,029 related deaths. The infection rate has been on the rise recently, as the Health Ministry confirmed record 8,037 new cases on Thursday.

20:41 GMT 17.07.2020

GENEVA (Sputnik) - Brazil is not out of the woods yet despite seeing daily coronavirus cases stabilize between 40,000 and 45,000, the World Health Organization's executive director for health emergencies said Friday.

"We are not seeing the daily increases that we have seen through the months of April and May, so a very high rate of increase, and coming then into mid-June and into July you can see that plateau occurring," Mike Ryan said.

The health official told reporters at a media briefing that Brazil recorded over 45,000 new cases and further 1,322 deaths in the past 24 hours.

"The disease is not heading down the mountain. So from that perspective the numbers have stabilized but what they haven't done is started to fall in a systematic day-by-day way. So Brazil is still very much in the middle of this fight," Ryan warned.

The South American nation saw the total pass 2 million cases on Thursday and is the world's second worst-hit country behind the United States. Ryan estimated that more than one in 10 coronavirus cases in Brazil was a health care worker.

20:20 GMT 17.07.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will begin distributing $10 billion for up to 1,000 hospitals to help recover losses suffered while treating COVID-19 patients in early months of the pandemic, when virtually all money-making non-urgent medical care was halted, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a press release on Friday.

"Payments from the $10 billion distribution will provide relief to more than 1,000 hospitals across the nation and begin as early as Monday of next week," the release said.

Earlier this month, hospitals were told of the pending subsidies and asked to submit data on COVID-19-positive inpatient admissions from 1 January to 10 June to determine eligibility for relief made available in the $2 trillion CARES Act approved by Congress, the release said.

In May, HHS distributed an initial round of relief totaling $12 billion to 395 hospitals. The disbursement announced Friday represents 12 percent of the entire $175 billion hospital relief program, according to the release.

Small hospitals in rural areas of the United States, which operate with small profit margins, were especially hard hit by the loss of revenue from elective medical procedures that only recently have become widely available, according to media reports.

19:50 GMT 17.07.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US deployed the Defence Production Act (DPA) using $36.9 million of COVID-19 relief funds to produce items needed to build and maintain fleets of aircraft and ships, the Defence Department said in a press release on Friday.

“These actions will help to retain critical workforce capabilities throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to restore some jobs lost because of the pandemic,” the release said.

The company Amful will receive $14.9 million to relieve manufacturing bottlenecks and expand production of military grade fuel bladders and auxiliary systems needed in virtually all US military aircraft, the release said.

In addition, Rolls-Royce will receive $22 million to expand domestic production for propellers that are essential to Navy shipbuilding programs, the release added.

The funds were included in more than $2 billion approved by Congress in CARES Act to address the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release.

The Defence Production Act allows the US government to subsidize manufacturing during a national emergency.

19:10 GMT 17.07.2020

GENEVA (Sputnik) - Swiss authorities will conduct unannounced random checks of compliance with self-isolation regime among travelers arriving in the country amid high rate of imported COVID-19 cases, Patrick Mathis, the spokesman of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health, said on Friday.

The government is going to request passenger lists for some 20-30 flights arriving in Switzerland every week and then randomly check if people are adhering to self-isolation rules, as the country has no capacity to control every traveler. Switzerland currently requires travelers from high-risk COVID-19 countries to stay in quarantine for at least 10 days.

"About 10 percent of coronavirus cases are imported by those who return from abroad," Mathis said.

The first list of passengers was already sent to Swiss cantons on Thursday, while random checks of people arriving from abroad on buses were set to start on Monday.

Switzerland considers 29 countries, including Russia, Brazil, the United States and Sweden, to be high-risk areas where the coronavirus is spreading at a high rate. The maximum fine for breaking the quarantine amounts to 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,600).

18:18 GMT 17.07.2020

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - It is too early to discuss what percentage of New York City residents have herd immunity to the novel coronavirus disease, New York State Department of Health (NYSDH) Director of Public Information Jonah Bruno told Sputnik on Friday.

“It is premature to discuss herd immunity since we are still learning what the presence of COVID-19 antibodies means to an individual and whether, or for how long, that conveys immunity. And we don’t know how the level of immunity in a single community translates into herd immunity,” Bruno said.

He noted that according to recent serology tests, conducted by the health department, approximately 20 percent of New York City residents have COVID-19 antibodies.

However, the rates of people with antibodies are different across the city’s postal codes, Bruno said.

The New York State, once the worst-hit locality in the world, has managed to suppress the outbreak and is now wary of new cases being potentially imported from other US regions. During the peak of the pandemic, over 700 people were dying in the city of COVID-19 per day and over 3,000 were being hospitalized.

In some communities of the city with a low-income population such as Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, 60 percent of residents tested positive for COVID-19.

17:24 GMT 17.07.2020

HELSINKI, July 17 (Sputnik) - Estonia's Foreign Ministry said Friday that arrivals from 10 European countries would be quarantined starting July 20, in a new coronavirus response guideline updated biweekly.

"A two-week mandatory self-isolation applies to people arriving in Estonia from Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland, Luxembourg, Spain, San Marino and Andorra," the press release read.

The Baltic nation, which has confirmed a total of 2,020 cases, reviews the list of countries exempted from the entry ban based on the rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Passengers coming from 23 other European countries will not have to self-isolate. They are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

From the list of non-EU countries, travelling to Estonia is possible from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

15:35 GMT 17.07.2020

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Sputnik) - The Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program for small and mid-sized businesses distressed by the novel coronavirus pandemic is being extended to non-profit organizations as the negative impact of the pandemic continues, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Friday.

"I have sent letters to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell approving the expansion of the Main Street Lending Program to include the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility," Mnuchin said. "Main Street is designed to provide a safety net for small and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic and could benefit from additional liquidity to manage through this challenging period."

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve said it purchased this week the first $12 million in loans under its $600 billion Main Street Lending Program. The program works through banks that offer the loans at low-interest rates and relatively easy payback terms.

To qualify for the loan program, non-profits such as educational institutions, hospitals and social services organizations need to have a minimum of ten employees. The organizations must have also qualified for tax-exempt status under rules of the Internal Revenue Service.

14:03 GMT 17.07.2020

LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK government decided to provide an extra three billion pounds ($3.7 billion) to England’s National Health Service (NHS) to get ready for the winter months in which the second wave of COVID-19 might hit the country, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday, adding that other countries of the UK would also receive additional funds.

The prime minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic might get stronger and more challenging in the winter months. In addition, the country will need more test kits as many people may show "COVID-like symptoms" during the time when seasonal illnesses are prevalent, according to Johnson.

"Today, I can confirm that we are providing an additional three billion pounds of funding to the NHS in England to get ready for winter. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also receive additional funds," Johnson said during a press conference.

The prime minister added that despite the UK preparing for a second wave of the virus, the country is set to continue gradually lifting all restrictions as infection rate slows.

Meanwhile, Johnson announced that local authorities, starting from Saturday, will be granted powers to impose targeted lockdowns if the COVID-19 clusters appear.

"It has to be right that we take local actions in response to local outbreaks," the prime minister said.

At the same time, Johnson wished that the UK would return to normal life by Christmas. In particular, the prime minister announced that casinos and sports centers would fully reopen in early August, while weddings with up to 30 guests would be allowed. Kindergartens, schools and colleges will be opening their doors starting from September, and further lifting of restrictions will be considered in November.

Since the start of the outbreak, the UK has confirmed over 292,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 45,000 related deaths.

13:13 GMT 17.07.2020

While deciding on a COVID-19 recovery fund, the European Union should avoid passing down "huge debt" to next generations, Thierry Mariani, a European Parliament member from France’s National Rally party, told Sputnik.

"I’m looking for clarity on this stimulus package. Money does not fall from the sky! European Commissioner [for Internal Market] Thierry Breton, who has always been very honest, insists on a duty of transparency and poses like me the question of repayment of this huge debt. As proposed by the European Commission, young people aged 20 today will pay for 40 years and more," Mariani said.

The bloc thus makes "subsequent generations pay the price," the lawmaker added, arguing that it also means a drift toward a European tax in the future.

"There are two solutions: either the states will organize an endowment in proportion to their economic weight and reimburse, or else we are going straight to a European tax, prohibited by the Treaties today. Inevitably, this will be the 2nd solution. No country wants to pay the bill, as decided by other politicians two years before. From a certain date, we will therefore no doubt see a European tax appear," he stated.

The politician went on to slam the bloc’s recovery instrument, Next Generation EU.

"The European Commission for its ‘Next generation’ plan is only recycling its previous projects, claiming that the future will be green and digital. But think of SMEs, of all sectors that have little to do with the green economy and digital. They are the ones who need help to survive and recover," Mariani argued.

The former minister in the Nicolas Sarkozy government also admitted that he now feels "a little guilty for having chosen debt" to get out of the "less serious" crisis of 2008.

"France, on the other hand, will pay more than the billions EUR it will receive in the stimulus package, as usual. Go talk to the French people about European solidarity, when they are anxious about their possible job loss," he said.

Europe remains divided on its adjusted 1.07 trillion euros long-term budget and recovery fund. The so-called Frugal Four group of European countries — Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden — oppose debt mutualization and believe that money should be issued in the form of loans rather than grants. France and Germany back the stimulus package.

12:22 GMT 17.07.2020

The economic consequences that have followed the COVID-19 pandemic may open ways of rapid enrichment for the Italian organized crime groups, according to a report by the Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate, sent to the country's upper house.

"There is an element of economic paralysis that has reached a large scale and can open prospects for the mafia's expansion and enrichment, compared to growth rates of a post-war period," the report reads.

The analysts note that criminal groups can strengthen their influence and achieve significant public support in the southern regions by supporting small and medium-level businesses. According to the second scenario, which is more long-term, Italy's criminal bodies, the Ndrangheta crime syndicate, in particular, would want to highlight their role as trustworthy and efficient players on a global scale.

"The global economy will need liquidity, and in that case, mafia clans will cooperate with markets that require considerable financial injections," the report reads.

In April, Italy's State Police chief Franco Gabrielli said that the mafia had managed to get involved in funding the production of emergency goods amid the pandemic and might remain embedded in the economy even after the end of the pandemic.

11:12 GMT 17.07.2020

Member states of the European Union must come to an agreement over the common post-coronavirus recovery fund to be able to protect their citizens from grave socio-economic repercussions of COVID-19, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday.

Sanchez spoke on the sidelines of an EU leaders summit in Brussels, held in a longtime abandoned in-person format and dedicated to the discussion of recovery plans after the pandemic.

"Today is a very important — I would even say historic — summit for the European states ... All European leaders are coming together today and tomorrow to achieve a good agreement, first of all for our citizens, who are struggling with not only the sanitary consequences of the pandemic, but also its social and economic consequences," Sanchez told reporters.

The Spanish prime minister counts on the EU COVID-19 fund to make the European economies "more sustainable, greener, digital and inclusive," he said.

"Spain has arrived with an intention to reach an agreement and protect its national interests," Sanchez added.

The EU leaders are expected to try negotiate the largest economic plan in the bloc's history, worth a whopping 750 billion euros ($857 billion), of which 500 billion euros will be issued in grants and the remaining 250 billion euros in loans.

The summit is also expected to feature a discussion of the EU's revamped budget for the next seven years, projected to amount to 1.1 trillion euros.

11:12 GMT 17.07.2020

European Parliament President David Sassoli on Friday said that any delay in the COVID-19 recovery package would undermine public finances.

"Any postponement could trigger new storms and imperil the European scene ... if Europe does not decide, maybe a financial storm front could hit public finances," Sassoli said while expressing confidence that there is an opportunity to have a proposal that could launch subsequent negotiations with parliament.

He has also outlined parliament's stance on national recovery plans, saying they ought to be aligned with common European challenges, and other related issues.

"As you know, parliament wishes to discuss, to begin a negotiation. We have our priorities on the recovery and on the MFF [multiannual financial framework]. For us, that's a single package," he added.

Earlier in the day, a two-day EU summit on post-pandemic recovery began in Brussels, with the countries' leaders aiming to reach a compromise on the much-debated issue of COVID-19 recovery funding.

As the COVID-19 epidemic has unfolded, many countries have adopted severe restrictions to stop the virus from spreading, undermining their economies in the process. To counter the deleterious economic ramifications of the disease, the European Union plans to set up a recovery fund of about $825 billion, with countries like Spain, Italy and Poland said to be the main beneficiaries. However, the so-called Frugal Four group of European countries — Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden — are not partial to the initiative, with domestic oppositions holding them back.

10:34 GMT 17.07.2020

Around 60 percent of Moscow residents have herd immunity to the coronavirus, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told Sputnik on Friday.

"Both in Moscow and in New York, around 60 percent of the population have herd immunity," Sobyanin said.

"Remarkably, the process took a month there [in New York], and the health care system failed to cope with the load, and we flattened the curve, and extended the process to three months," the mayor added.

Moscow's coronavirus mortality rate is five times lower than in New York, according to Sobyanin.

"We have introduced quarantine measures earlier, we have prepared the health care system better. Thanks to the flattened curve, we have by many times reduced the peak load on the health care system, this is why our mortality rate is five times lower, given that Moscow's population exceeds that of New York by 3 million," Sobyanin explained.

As of July 16, 18,754 people have died from the coronavirus in New York, with additional investigation needed into around 4,600 more deaths, while Moscow's death rate amounts to 4,271 as of July 17.

07:31 GMT 17.07.2020
07:18 GMT 17.07.2020
06:48 GMT 17.07.2020

More than a tonne of plasma with antibodies to COVID-19 has been prepared to treat those infected with coronavirus in Moscow, Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said on Friday, adding that over 1,750 patients became donors.

"Since April of this year, more than a ton of plasma with antibodies to the coronavirus has been prepared in Moscow. And this is thanks to 1,788 people who donated blood after recovery. In addition, 215 citizens have done this again. We thank everyone who responded - you help many patients to overcome the disease," Rakova told reporters.

The official also said that more than 760 patients had been prescribed transfusions in Moscow hospitals, and almost 500 of them had already successfully recovered from the disease.

According to Rakova, preliminary results of the study showed that after transfusing donated plasma, the chance of being put on mechanical ventilation in intensive care is reduced by 63 percent in patients showing moderate symptoms, and the likelihood of recovery of patients in serious condition who receive plasma increases by 19 percent.

In mid-April, Moscow authorities introduced payments to plasma donors who have COVID-19 antibodies at the rate of 1,250 rubles ($17) for every 150 milliliters of plasma and 5,000 rubles ($67) for 600 milliliters.

06:37 GMT 17.07.2020
06:17 GMT 17.07.2020

Philippine authorities will allow foreign nationals with valid long-term visas to enter the country starting from August 1 as the nation continues to gradually ease restrictions to support the economy, a statement from the presidency said on Friday.

"The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) yesterday, July 16, allowed the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas in the country beginning August 1, 2020," the statement said, adding that there would be certain conditions.

The visitors must first have valid and existing visas at the time of the entry. The foreigners are also required to book a location for quarantine and COVID-19 testing provider before visiting the country.

The Asian nation has confirmed over 60,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 1,600 fatalities.

06:15 GMT 17.07.2020

he Israeli government chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to reintroduce a number of preventive measures that enter into effect on Friday evening amid a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the country over the last few weeks, the government’s press service has said.

In late May, Israel gradually started to lift the coronavirus lockdown measures, allowing bars, restaurants, pubs and swimming pools to reopen. However, this step was then suspended in June by Netanyahu due to a surge in new infection cases.

Among general restrictions, gyms and exercise studious, except those for professional athletes, will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Israeli time (14:00 GMT), the service said in a press release on a joint statement issued by Netanyahu’s office and the Health Ministry.

As of Friday, restaurants and cafeterias are permitted to continue only take-away and home-delivery operations, the statement read.

As for restaurants in the country’s hotels, administrations should limit the occupancy rate by 35% out of the total count in order to continue working, according to the statement.

Among the weekend restrictions, which are to be in place from 5 p.m. on Friday until 5 a.m. on Sunday, stores, trade centers, open-air markets, barbershops, beauty services, libraries, petting zoos, museums, pools, tourist attractions and the cableway will be closed.

Beginning July 24, staying on the beach during the weekend will be prohibited except for the period from July 17-18.

Only a total of 10 people are allowed to gather in closed areas, and up to 20 in open ones "except places of work and nuclear families," the statement said.

At the opening of a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu ordered that all ministers have until July 23 to provide a program in a bid to cope with current economic challenges and gain control over the epidemiological situation.

As of Friday, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in Israel stands at 25,636, according to information provided by the Health Ministry. The death toll has reached 387 since the start of the outbreak.

A total of 213 patients are under special medical treatment.

05:35 GMT 17.07.2020

The South Korean constitution does not longer meet realities of the time and should be reformed by the end of the year after overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, National Assembly speaker Park Byeong-seug said at a ceremony marking the 72nd Constitution Day.

The speaker stressed that the constitution should be amended to "protect citizens from waves of changes and open up the future."

"Given the upcoming political schedule, it is high time to reform the constitution before next year. Let's start a thorough discussion on this issue after overcoming the coronavirus crisis," Park said.

According to Park, the current constitution adopted in 1987 was "created in the spirit of struggle for democracy and focuses on the elimination of authoritarianism, direct presidential elections for a five-year term and civil freedoms," and does not meet the requirements of the present time.

"After the coronavirus, the very fundamental concept of the state has changed. Moreover, our economy has grown tenfold compared to 1987, the atmosphere of the current era and the requirements of citizens have also changed significantly," the speaker concluded.

Chung Sye-kyun, the South Korean prime minister, also stressed the need for constitutional changes.

"It is time to start the process of giving shape to the spirit of the constitution in all areas, including the economy, society, culture, work of citizens and the environment, in accordance with the course of a changed era," the prime minister wrote on Facebook.

The Constitution of South Korea was adopted on July 17, 1948 and last revised in 1987. Constitution Day is celebrated on July 17 and is considered a national holiday.

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