A healthcare worker beckons incoming cars at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site inside the Alliant Energy Center complex, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., October 31, 2020. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: COVID-19 Death Toll in US Surpasses 3,000 Daily Mark, Breaks Record: NYT

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The global death toll from the coronavirus is now over 1.5 million, while the overall tally is more than 68 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the meantime, multiple countries are preparing for mass vaccination campaigns in December and January, as several drugs proved highly efficient during recent trials.

Russia and the UK became the first to provide coronavirus jabs for their citizens, using their vaccines - Sputnik V and Pfizer/BioNTech, respectively.

However, the pandemic is on the rise, with the most affected nations being the US (over 15.1 million infected, 286,000 deaths), India (9.7 million infections, 140,000 fatalities), and Brazil (over 6.6 million cases, and a death toll of over 178,000).

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03:49 GMT 10.12.2020
01:02 GMT 10.12.2020

The death toll from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States has broken a record, surpassing the 3,000 daily death mark, The New York Times reported citing officials.

At least 3,012 people have died of coronavirus in the country in the past 24 hours, it said.

The record of last week was 2,760 daily deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States stands at 15,379,574, with 289,283 deaths and 5,889,896 recoveries.

00:32 GMT 10.12.2020
00:19 GMT 10.12.2020

Due to the situation with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Czech police were forced to take Health Minister Jan Blatny under protection, First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek told reporters.

"Yes, police protection has been provided to Minister Blatny. This is because of the coronavirus," Hamacek said, without going into further details.

Earlier, media reported that the health minister had received threats. They were also shouted by some protesters against measures taken as part of the emergency situation regime in the country, in effect since October 5.

00:19 GMT 10.12.2020
00:18 GMT 10.12.2020
00:14 GMT 10.12.2020
00:09 GMT 10.12.2020
23:28 GMT 09.12.2020

Guinea will receive an additional $49.47 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), bringing the total amount of loans received during the coronavirus pandemic to slightly more than $166 million, the IMF Executive Board said in a press release.

"While performance under the Fund-supported program remains broadly satisfactory, Guinea faces significant downside risks related to COVID-19 pandemic," the release said on Wednesday.

With the latest disbursement, Guinea will reach 56 percent of its borrowing quota from the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF), the release said.

The IMF projected 5.2 percent economic growth this year due to a "buoyant mining sector," even as the COVID-19 restrictive measures hit the non-mining economy by lowering annual growth to 2.4 percent, about half the pre-pandemic level.

The IMF relaxed requirements earlier in the year, allowing Guinea to borrow from the nation’s central bank to fund its coronavirus response, the release said.

However, the IMF release credited Guinea’s 2021 draft budget with properly supporting post-pandemic recovery while allowing the nation to continue servicing its debt, the release added.

23:17 GMT 09.12.2020

Airline manufacturer Boeing said in a press release that it is partnering with air carriers and regulators to ensure the safe transport of coronavirus vaccines that require storage in extreme cold.

"Boeing has issued service letters, multi-operator messages and has held online symposiums to communicate the issues associated with dry ice carriage. The published materials include data ‘curves’ reflecting how many pounds of dry ice can be carried by each airplane model based on the sublimation [vaporization] rate of the dry ice as packaged for shipment)," the release said on Wednesday.

Boeing also says that the documentation covers important airplane operational information such as airflow settings and dispatching under the Minimum Equipment List conditions.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which awaits emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), needs to be stored and transported at temperatures of minus 94 Fahrenheit, a requirement that can most readily be met with dry ice. A second vaccine by Moderna, which also expects FDA approval within weeks, can be stored in a standard freezer, according to data from the manufacturer.

Boeing provided carriers with data on dry ice carriage for all the company’s aircraft, the release said.

Boeing is also partnering with the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators and industry organizations to share information on aircraft capacity and to develop additional safety-related guidance, the release added.

21:41 GMT 09.12.2020

The Czech parliament has decided to prolong the state of emergency declared over the spread of the coronavirus until December 23.

The move was supported on Wednesday in a 53-36 vote, with the right-wing opposition parties criticizing the prolongation of the emergency describing the taken measures as chaotic ones.

The parliament's decision contradicts the government's initiative to extend the emergency until January 11.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 68.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.56 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

The Czech Republic has confirmed about 557,000 coronavirus cases so far, with more than 9,100 fatalities, JHU says.

21:41 GMT 09.12.2020

The Belarusian authorities have decided to temporarily ban people from leaving the country via ground checkpoints with the move entering into force 10 days later, the government's decree said.

"[It was decided] to temporarily ban Belarusian citizens as well as foreigners with a permit for permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Belarus from crossing the border via ground checkpoints," the decree said on Wednesday.

The ban will apply to road, railway and river crossings. The measure may be lifted in extraordinary cases by the border services.

21:20 GMT 09.12.2020
20:31 GMT 09.12.2020

Moscow and Cairo have agreed to step up cooperation on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, both in terms of supplies and localization of production in Egypt, the Russian Trade Ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.

Co-chairs of the Russian-Egyptian intergovernmental commission, Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov and his Egyptian counterpart Nevin Gamea, held a meeting in the video format on Wednesday to discuss the pharmaceutical field, with an emphasis on the COVID-19 response.

"The Egyptian side confirmed its interest in the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. An agreement has been reached to intensify practical cooperation both in terms of vaccine supplies and the possible localization of its production in Egypt," the ministry said.

In August, Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, which was named Sputnik V. The clinical trials of the vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya research institute, have demonstrated that its efficacy rate is over 90 percent. Dozens of countries have already expressed interest in procuring it.

20:15 GMT 09.12.2020

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling for an increase in hospital capacity amid the spike in coronavirus cases, Director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday.

"Figures and trends make it clear that our region must redouble preventive measures, especially in preparation for the year-end holidays. Now is not the time to relax," Etienne said. "We’re once again in need of coordinated efforts to boost hospital capacity in the most affected areas because when hospitals can’t accommodate everyone who is sick, many will die waiting for care."

Etienne said North America’s continued rise in infections and the winter temperatures may prompt people to gather more indoors in poorly ventilated areas. She also said in Central America including Honduras and Guatemala are experiencing a rise in cases in the areas affected by recent hurricanes.

"With cases and deaths mounting, Brazil’s health system is under strain and hospitals are at capacity in some areas," she said. "We’re also seeing rises in cases and deaths in areas of Colombia bordering Venezuela and Ecuador."

The director added that Paraguay is now facing a spike in infections.

Etienne revealed that PAHO’s Directing Council will meet this week to discuss preparations for vaccine introductions and purchases of vaccines through the PAHO Revolving Fund and the COVAX facility.

PAHO serves as Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

20:08 GMT 09.12.2020

Moscow has registered 74 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 9,645, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Another 74 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.

In the previous day, 75 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

19:38 GMT 09.12.2020

Turkish citizens will be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease for free, the country's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday, adding that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines would be delivered as soon as next week.

"Next week we will receive vaccines. They will be tested, and if they pass all the tests, they will be allowed for use. They will be administered twice with a break of 14 days free of charge for citizens. Negotiations on alternative vaccines that meet our standards and requirements are underway," Koca told reporters.

The minister also expressed hope that the vaccine would finally help bring an end to the pandemic.

In late November, Koca said that the coronavirus pandemic in several regions across Turkey, including in Istanbul, had reached its third peak. In recent weeks, the country repeatedly registered record-high numbers of daily infections and fatalities.

Earlier in the day, the Turkish Health Ministry reported a new single-day record of 31,712 COVID-19 cases and 217 deaths, which brings the country's total cases to 558,517 and 15,531 coronavirus related deaths.

19:35 GMT 09.12.2020

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced in a statement that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and has isolated along with his wife in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health guidelines.

"During a routine test [on Monday], I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms and am feeling well and I am in isolation at home," Wolf said in a Twitter on Tuesday evening.

Wold said he is following CDC and Department of Health guidelines and is quarantining at home in the town of York

At least five other sitting governors in the United States have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including in Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado.

19:15 GMT 09.12.2020

Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V has become the target of information attacks in Russia and abroad for competitive or political reasons, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Wednesday.

"The world's first registered vaccine against coronavirus infection, Sputnik V, has become the target of a negative information attack in Russia and abroad for competitive or political reasons," the fund said, noting that the media sometimes publishes inaccurate data on its characteristics, production or the fund's negotiations with potential partners and contractors.

18:33 GMT 09.12.2020
16:19 GMT 09.12.2020
16:13 GMT 09.12.2020
15:31 GMT 09.12.2020

Russia and Turkey are still discussing Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, a source in the Russian Direct Investment Fund told Sputnik on Wednesday.

In this handout photo released by Hungarian Foreign Ministry, laboratory assistants carry a bag with Russia's coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V inside, in Budapest, Hungary - Sputnik International
Peskov After Turkey's Refusal to Buy Sputnik V: Trials Showed Vaccine's Effectiveness
15:13 GMT 09.12.2020

Over 60 percent of Finns are ready to get a vaccine against the coronavirus disease as soon as it becomes available, a study by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) revealed on Wednesday.

According to the study, 64 percent of Finns are prepared to be vaccinated, 16 percent of respondents have not yet decided, and 20 will not get vaccinated.

"It is good that the coronavirus vaccine is perceived very positively. The fact that protecting others is seen as almost as important as protecting yourself is a clear indication of how people think about solidarity. It's great and encourages joint efforts to exit the epidemic," THL spokesman Jonas Sivela said.

The research was conducted online from November 27 - December 1, with the participation of approximately 1,000 people representing the general population. The study will be conducted again in winter, in 2021.

15:10 GMT 09.12.2020

The Munich Security Conference will not be held from February 19-21, as originally planned, due to remaining pandemic threat, the organizers said Wednesday.

"Due to the ongoing pandemic, our Chairman [Wolfgang Ischinger] @ischinger has announced to postpone the Munich Security Conference 2021. The new date will be set in close consultation with public authorities, stakeholders, and partners. More information coming soon," the official Twitter account of the conference said.

15:09 GMT 09.12.2020

The biggest amusement park in Spain, PortAventura World, will remain closed until the end of March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said on Wednesday.

"The exceptional measures adopted by the health authorities to contain COVID-19 do not allow us to open the resort and offer our clients the Christmas experience at PortAventura World, so it will remain closed until the opening of the new season, scheduled for 27 March 2021," the park said on its official website.

The park also pledged to take all the necessary precautions and expects to start a new season next year.

PortAventura World is one of the biggest recreational complexes in Europe. It contains two amusement parks — Port Aventura and Ferrari Land — as well a water park, six hotels, three golf courses and a conference hall. In 2019, about 5.2 million people visited PortAventura World.

15:00 GMT 09.12.2020

Nearly 30 million German citizens, primarily those over 60 years old, will be able to receive several face masks free of charge in December and the subsequent months to protect against the coronavirus, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday.

"We have decided that people of over 60 years of old and other people designated as risk groups, will be able to receive three FFP2 respirators and other protective masks in pharmacies during the period before the Christmas holidays. The cost of the three masks is 18 euros [$22]. The decision will cover the Christmas holidays and will be in force until the end of December," Spahn said at a press conference, adding that this concerns 27 million people.

After December, the same groups of citizens will be able to get coupons for six masks, the minister said, explaining that the production capacity and resources in Europe are now sufficient to satisfy demand.

In addition, the minister supported the further toughening of coronavirus-related restrictions as the situation in Germany remains tense.

"As health minister, I advocate for any measures that are based on personal responsibility, as well as for any measures taken by local or regional authorities to reduce contacts and bring the virus under control, this is what I welcome," Spahn said.

The official considered it necessary to start school holidays earlier than planned, on December 16 instead of December 19, in order to further minimize opportunities for citizens to come into close contact.

According to the minister, Germany needs about 10-14 days to slow down the spread of the virus and reduce the incidence.

13:52 GMT 09.12.2020
13:39 GMT 09.12.2020

"We are fully investigating the two reports that have been reported to us as a matter of priority. Once all the information has been reviewed we will communicate updated advice", the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in a statement.

"In line with existing advice we advise anyone with a history of a significant allergic reaction [who is] due to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine to speak to your healthcare professional who is administering the vaccine".

13:35 GMT 09.12.2020

The Ukrainian government at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday introduced enhanced quarantine measures due to the coronavirus from January 8 to 24, and also extended the national quarantine and the emergency situation in the country, which was previously in force until the end of this year, through February 28, 2021.

During the period of strict quarantine restrictions, schools and universities will be closed, while the work of kindergartens is allowed. Mass events, markets and entertainment venues are completely banned, cultural institutions will be closed.

Shopping and entertainment centers, except those wishing to buy essential goods, are prohibited from receiving visitors. Essential goods include food, medicines, hygiene products, communications, veterinary drugs and animal food, as well as fuel. The work of cafes, bars and restaurants is allowed only in takeaway mode. At the same time, the work of restaurants in hotels is limited.

The Ukrainian government previously introduced a nationwide quarantine since March 12 due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and since May 11, it has decided to ease a number of restrictive measures. The quarantine was later extended until the end of this year.

12:43 GMT 09.12.2020
12:19 GMT 09.12.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom's health authorities warn that people with serious allergic reactions should not get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the Sky News broadcaster reported Wednesday.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has reportedly advised NHS trusts that people with a history of a significant allergic reaction to drugs, vaccines or food should not be vaccinated.

NHS England has confirmed that all trusts that participate in the vaccination program are aware of that and from Wednesday onward all people will be asked if they have a history of allergic reactions before receiving a shot.

12:05 GMT 09.12.2020

LONDON (Sputnik) – Over one million UK families or 2.4 million people experienced destitution in 2019, but the number is expected to double, as the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the United Kingdom's economy into its deepest recession since records began, a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) revealed on Wednesday.

"This study, the third in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals that even before the COVID-19 outbreak destitution was rapidly growing in scale and intensity. Since 2017 many more households, including families with children, have been pushed to the brink", the JRF's research said.

The foundation defines destitution as when a household cannot afford two or more of the essentials we all need to live, like shelter, food, heating, and clothing.

According to the report, of the 2.4 million people that experienced destitution at any point during 2019, around 550,000 were children. It also found that one in five destitute people are homeless or suffer from drug and alcohol problems, while some 54 percent have a chronic health problem or disability.

“I’m appalled, I’m ashamed, and I´m angry. Nearly 2.5 million people experienced destitution in 2019. That’s more than a 50 percent increase since 2017. More than half a million children are growing up with the experience of destitution", JRF director Helen Barnard said in a video published on Twitter in which she called for improving social security, building more social homes, and creating better paid, more secure jobs.

11:52 GMT 09.12.2020
10:45 GMT 09.12.2020

Anna Popova, the head of Russia's public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said on Wednesday that an entire pool of COVID-19 vaccines is being developed in Russia, adding that this work will continue.

"Today, more than one vaccine is being developed in Russia, our scientists are developing an entire pool of vaccines [against coronavirus]. And this work will continue," Popova told reporters.

In August, Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, which was named Sputnik V. The clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya research institute, have demonstrated that its efficacy rate is over 90 percent. Dozens of countries have already expressed interest in procuring the Russian vaccine.

10:28 GMT 09.12.2020
10:07 GMT 09.12.2020

"If we limit ourselves to adults, who total over 30 million, then we will have to vaccinate 15 million people to function as normal", Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told Polish Zet radio.

10:05 GMT 09.12.2020

BERLIN (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday expressed a belief that the measures already introduced to limit contacts are insufficient to curb the spreading of the coronavirus, and supported the recommendation to toughen restrictions, and to close retail stores until 10 January.

"The incidence remains very high, and I am even more concerned over the number of people who need intensive treatment, and over fatalities ... There are too many contacts, the restrictions are not sufficient", Merkel told the Bundestag.

The chancellor praised recommendations by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

"I think the recommendation to close shops and minimise contacts is proper. We have made a decision to allow Christmas holidays, but I call on everyone to be cautious. I think it is not proper to allow tourists to stay in hotels, as it means non-essential trips are possible. I also think it’s proper to keep schools closed until 10 January through extending school holidays or introducing online classes", Merkel added.

08:55 GMT 09.12.2020

ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) - Russia's public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, submitted all documents related to Russia's second coronavirus vaccine EpiVacCorona to the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, and is awaiting authorization, Rospotrebnadzor chief Anna Popova said.

"On 8 December, we sent documents related to one more Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona, to the WHO, and we await the WHO's decision", Popova said at a conference on infectious diseases.

08:46 GMT 09.12.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has registered 26,190 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 26,097 the day before, bringing the total to 2,541,199, the federal response centre said on Wednesday.

"In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 26,190 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 4,739 (18.1 percent) were detected among people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 2,541,199.

07:22 GMT 09.12.2020
06:48 GMT 09.12.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Indian Health Ministry has developed a digital platform, including a mobile application for real-time tracking of processes related to the COVID-19 vaccination in the country, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

The platform, dubbed Co-WIN, will be monitoring vaccine delivery and registering people for vaccination.

"Co-WIN digital platform includes a free downloadable mobile application which can help record vaccine data. One can register themselves on it if they want the vaccine. There are five modules in Co-WIN app - administrator module, registration module, vaccination module, beneficiary acknowledgment module and report module", Bhushan said, as quoted by NDTV broadcaster.

06:03 GMT 09.12.2020

Actress Kriti Sanon, who is famous for her role in Heropanti and Luka Chuppi movies, was shooting in Chandigarh with actor Rajkummar Rao when she tested positive for COVID. She made her way back to Mumbai to quarantine herself and rest.

05:51 GMT 09.12.2020
05:17 GMT 09.12.2020
05:10 GMT 09.12.2020
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