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Coronavirus: On November 16, 2020, US biotech company Moderna announced a vaccine against COVID-19 that is 94.5% effective. Montreal, November 16, 2020 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: European Medicines Agency Approves Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 1.86 million and over 86.3 million cases of the infection have been detected, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

Countries around the world are re-introducing stringent measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, especially after the discovery of a mutated coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom, which has introduced a third lockdown this week.

The United States, India and Brazil lead in terms of the number of registered coronavirus infections, while the largest number of COVID-19-related deaths has been observed in the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Follow Sputnik's feed to find out more.  

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19:56 GMT 06.01.2021
UK Sees Record Daily Deaths From Coronavirus Since April

LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK Department of Health reported a further 1,041 coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, the highest daily toll seen in the country since April.

The death toll now stand at 77,346. April 8 was the deadliest day since the start of the pandemic, with 1,072 people dying with COVID-19.


19:26 GMT 06.01.2021
Canada Will Not Extend Ban on UK Passenger Flights

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Canada will not extend its ban on passenger flights from the United Kingdom when it expires later in the evening, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The ban was originally introduced on December 20 and extended on December 23 to prevent the spread of a new strand of COVID-19 that originated in the UK.

"The ban on UK flights, which was going until midnight tonight, will lapse – it will no longer be applicable," Garneau said.

Garneau explained his decision saying that a newly introduced directive, which obliges passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board their flight, will mitigate the risk of new imported infections. The new directive comes into force on January 7.

17:53 GMT 06.01.2021
Ukrainian President Orders Law Enforcement to Check Reports About Vaccine Smuggling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday tasked law enforcement agencies with verifying reports about a coronavirus vaccine being sneaked into the country for a "covert" immunization of the top elite.

While Ukraine has yet to receive first vaccine shots, media reported on Tuesday that some 10 lawmakers, businessmen and top officials had been "secretly immunized" with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, paying up to 3,000 euros ($3,690) for two injections. Mykhailo Radutsky, the chairman of the parliamentary health committee and a member of the pro-presidential party, has denied the information. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who is also claimed to have got inoculated, has ordered a probe into the allegations.

"I have instructed the Security Service and other law enforcement agencies to immediately check information about the alleged smuggling of a coronavirus vaccine into Ukraine. If it did occur to someone to covertly and in violation of law smuggle a vaccine for sale, the reaction should be as tough as possible. Smuggling and counterfeit should be punished," Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

The president noted that the country had a clear vaccination campaign plan, under which people from risk groups and frontline health care workers will be the first to receive COVID-19 shots once they arrive in Ukraine.

Zelinsky said in December that he had tasked the health ministry with acquiring 100,000 to 200,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in January or February at the latest. Health Minister Maxym Stepanov said that technical documents have already been signed with the COVAX mechanism for the supply of 8 million vaccine doses. Later, the country struck a contract for a further 1.9 million doses with China’s Sinovac Biotech.

17:30 GMT 06.01.2021
First Shipment of Moderna COVID Vaccines to Arrive in Israel on Thursday, PM Says
17:21 GMT 06.01.2021
German Health Minister Speaks Against Spacing Out Coronavirus Vaccine Shots

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday he considered it risky to delay the second shot of coronavirus vaccine as a way of boosting immunization figures.

"My impression about this sensitive issue, which depends a lot on trust and reliability, is that we should stick to the recommendations and the recommended gap is 21-42 days," he told a news conference.

Germany has been mulling whether the two shots should be spaced further apart, but the vaccine-maker, BioNTech, has said that approach had not been tested, according to Spahn.

The minister added that the Robert Koch institute for infectious diseases did not recommend using different vaccines under the two-step scheme.

The United Kingdom said last week it will be administering vaccines 12 weeks apart to cover as many people as possible with a limited stock during the first wave of immunization, causing concern among some experts.

17:10 GMT 06.01.2021
Over 500,000 Austrian Nationals May Get COVID-19 Vaccine in First Quarter of 2021, Kurz Says

Over 500,000 Austrian nationals will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 following the approval by the European Union of the vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Moderna, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced the decision to recommend the Moderna vaccine for conditional authorization. This is the second COVID-19 vaccine after the vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech that the agency has recommended for the use in the European Union. The vaccine was subsequently approved by the European Commission.

"Over 500,000 people in Austria will be able to receive a vaccine of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna in the first quarter of 2021," Kurz said on Twitter.

On December 21, the scientific committee of EMA recommended conditional marketing authorization for the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

The EU has also concluded contracts to secure vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Sanofi and GSK, Johnson and Johnson, CureVac. The EU contracts will allow member states to receive a total of over 1.2 billion doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine.

17:02 GMT 06.01.2021
Berlin Says Vaccine Production Cooperation With Russia Possible If EU Authorizes Sputnik V

Cooperation with Russia on its vaccine production in the European Union is possible only if Sputnik V gets authorization from the bloc’s drug regulator, Germany’s deputy government spokesperson said on Wednesday, in the wake of a call between Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin said that the two leaders had a call, discussing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic with an emphasis on possible prospects of joint vaccine production. The sides also agreed to maintain contacts on the issue between the health ministries and other specialized agencies of the two countries.

"I can tell you that the chancellor indicated [in the call with Putin] that bilateral cooperation to expand European [vaccine] production capacity is possible," Ulrike Demmer told a briefing, adding that "an expansion of production capacity in Europe for a Russian vaccine is possible only if this vaccine is green-lighted by EMA."

Sputnik V is the world's first coronavirus vaccine officially registered for emergency use in Russia on August 11. In December, Russia launched large-scale coronavirus immunization. The latest interim results from Phase 3 clinical trials established the vaccine's efficacy at 91.4 percent and at 100 percent against severe cases.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) told Sputnik on Tuesday that the Sputnik V developer, the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute, has yet to request its scientific advice as the first step toward a possible application for marketing authorization in Europe.

16:46 GMT 06.01.2021
Bolivia Registers Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine, RDIF Says
Sputnik V Vaccine - Sputnik International
Russia's RDIF Says Bolivia Registered Sputnik V Vaccine Based on Trial Results in Russia
16:27 GMT 06.01.2021
Why Did Serbian Interior Minister Choose Russian Coronavirus Vaccine?
Russian coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V - Sputnik International
Serbian Interior Minister Gets Sputnik V Vaccine, Says Believes in Russia's Medicine
16:18 GMT 06.01.2021
Schools in Ireland to Close Until End of January, PM Says
16:16 GMT 06.01.2021
UK Reports Over 62,000 New COVID-19 Cases, 1041 Deaths
15:45 GMT 06.01.2021
EU Authorises Moderna COVID Vaccine, Second Vaccine Approved by the Bloc

The European Commission on Wednesday authorized the vaccine against coronavirus developed by US pharmaceutical company Moderna, which has become the second COVID-19 vaccine approved by the bloc, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Earlier in the day, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced its decision to recommend the vaccine against coronavirus developed by Moderna for conditional authorization.

On 21 December, the scientific committee of EMA recommended conditional marketing authorisation for the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech. The same day, this vaccine was approved by the European Commission.

15:14 GMT 06.01.2021
Czech Republic Confirms New Daily Record of 17,278 COVID-19 Cases, Health Ministry Says

The Czech Republic has confirmed 17,278 new coronavirus disease cases, hitting a new single-day record, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The previous record spike in COVID-19 cases in the republic was reported on December 30, with 16,939 new infections having been registered.

"Over the past 24 hours, the republic has registered the highest number of new COVID-19 patients for the entire period of the pandemic – 17,278 people that is 339 people more, compared to the previous record number of December 30, 2020," the ministry said, adding that the capital of Prague had also hit a daily record of 2,034 new infections.

The ministry noted that there were 126,348 COVID-19 patients in the republic, with 7,001 having been hospitalized.

The Czech Republic has confirmed over 776,900 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The recent spike in coronavirus infections made the country's government extend the state of emergency until January 22.

14:03 GMT 06.01.2021
Over 1.5Mln Sputnik V Doses, 45,000 EpiVacCorona Doses Rolled Out in Russia, Authorities Say

Russia has already rolled out for civilian circulation over 1.5 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and more than 45,000 doses of another homegrown vaccine, EpiVacCorona, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday.

"Today, the Roszdravnadzor [public health care watchdog] approved that another 10,700 doses be released into civilian circulation. Thus, 1,543,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and more than 45,000 doses of the EpiVacCorona vaccine have been released into civilian circulation," the minister told reporters after a conference call with Russian regions.

He added than 120,000 vaccine doses are currently on their way to Russian regions.

According to the official, the domestic production of Sputnik V is growing, and six production facilities are already working. The seventh one will launch operations soon.

13:51 GMT 06.01.2021
Russia's Availability of Hospital Beds for COVID-19 Patients at 24%

Nearly one quarter of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in Russia remain available as of Wednesday, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

"The share of hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients in Russia is 24 percent at the moment," Murashko told journalists.

The minister made the comment after talks with counterparts from Russian regions.

"The coronavirus environment generally stabilized during the New Year's holidays, but still remains tense — we register around 24,000 new cases daily on average," he said.

13:24 GMT 06.01.2021
Germany Hopes to Start BioNTech/Pfizer Vaccine Production in Marburg Next Month

Germany hopes that production of the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will start in the town of Marburg in February, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday, after a cabinet meeting on vaccine shortages.

"The German government is making every effort to support BioNTech and other vaccine manufacturers. We discussed this today with relevant ministers and the chancellor. Our goal remains the earliest possible start of production of vaccines, in this case of company BioNTech, in Marburg. If everything goes well, it will happen in February. Then the company will be able to significantly step up the production of vaccines," Spahn told a briefing.

Speaking about the vaccine deficit that led to the closure of a vaccination center in Berlin in late December, the minister noted that the problem is "not a limited volume of orders, but limited production capacity" of manufacturers.

Scarce vaccine supplies have recently prompted EU countries to mull a delay in administering the second dose to provide protection of the first COVID-19 shot to as many people as possible. The United Kingdom and Denmark have already approved such a delay. Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday that Spahn was also weighing the measure and had asked the national Robert Koch Institute to assess its effectiveness.

13:01 GMT 06.01.2021
Argentina Opens Probe Into Loss of 400 Doses of Sputnik V Due to Storage Failure, Reports Say
The view shows an ampoule component 1 of the two-component vector vaccine the Sputnik-V against coronavirus infectionin the city polyclinic No. 4 in Volgograd, Russia - Sputnik International
Argentina Opens Probe Into Loss of 400 Doses of Sputnik V Due to Storage Failure, Reports Say
12:38 GMT 06.01.2021
Manchester City Says 3 New COVID-19 Infections Among Players, Staff

English football club Manchester City on Wednesday announced that three more cases of COVID-19 have been detected among its ranks.

This comes after the club’s Premier League fixture against Everton was postponed in late December due to four positive tests for the virus, including two first-team players, Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker.

According to a club statement, loanee goalkeeper Scott Carson, academy youngster Cole Palmer and an unnamed staff member have contracted the coronavirus.

This throws into disarray City’s League Cup semi-final match against rivals Manchester United scheduled to take place later on Wednesday.

Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Fulham have seen games postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests among their players and staff. Officiating bodies have so far resisted calls to issue a two-week circuit breaker in the league amid a rise in cases.

12:19 GMT 06.01.2021
European Medicines Agency Approves Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The European Medicines Agency announced Wednesday its decision to recommend a vaccine against coronavirus developed by US pharma company Moderna for conditional authorization.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine that the agency has recommended for authorization by the European Commission.

"EMA has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna to prevent Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in people from 18 years of age," a press release read.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised the decision as good news for the bloc's efforts to address the shortage of vaccines against coronavirus in the European Union.

"Now we are working at full speed to approve it & make it available in the EU," she tweeted.

EMA said that an extensive trial of the two-shot vaccine had showed a 94.1 percent efficacy in people aged between 18 and 94 and a lower efficacy rate of 90.9 percent in at-risk patients with chronic diseases. The shots are given 28 days apart.

11:58 GMT 06.01.2021
Russia's RDIF to Supply 2 Million Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine to Serbia
Evaluation of the effectiveness of the Sputnik V vaccine in the Gemotest laboratory - Sputnik International
Russia's RDIF to Supply 2 Million Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine to Serbia
11:19 GMT 06.01.2021
COVID-19 Scare Shuts Down Indian Schools Days After Reopening as Students and Teachers Test Positive

As more states in India are opening school doors to student in the coming days, many schools which were opened on 1 January were forced to close down today after many students and teachers fell prey to Coronavirus.

In the southern state of Karnataka alone, 50 teachers and students tested Covid-19 positive after schools reopened on 1 January.

Thousands of children across the country are preparing to go to school from this week as schools are set to reopen.

11:11 GMT 06.01.2021
Estonia Detects 723 New COVID-19 Cases
10:15 GMT 06.01.2021
Hong Kong Detects 25 New Coronavirus Cases
10:09 GMT 06.01.2021
26th Kolkata International Film Festival to be Held Virtually Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

The third-oldest international film festival in India, the Kolkata International Film Festival, will be held virtually this year and on a smaller scale. Kolkata is the capital of the eastern state of West Bengal and is considered the country's biggest cultural nerve centre.

10:06 GMT 06.01.2021
Slovakia Registers 4,959 New COVID-19 Cases
09:37 GMT 06.01.2021
Netherlands Becomes Last EU Country to Begin COVID-19 Vaccinations

 The Netherlands on Wednesday became the last European country to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, having inoculated a nursing home worker, according to a broadcast by the NOS TV channel.

Previously, the country's authorities announced that the vaccination date had been moved from this past Friday to Wednesday. The Netherlands received its first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in late December.

According to the news outlet, the first person in the Netherlands to have become vaccinated is nurse Sanna Elkadiri, who works at a nursing home in the southern town of Boxtel. She is being followed by other medical staff as the country has decided to firstly vaccinate personnel working at assisted living facilities as well as medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.

On 21 December, the European Union approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for its domestic markets, with many countries beginning vaccinating citizens on 27 December. The EU agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech includes 200 million vaccine doses as well as the right to purchase additional 100 million.

09:14 GMT 06.01.2021
Philippines Seeks 148 Mln COVID-19 Vaccine Shots for 2/3 of Population

The Philippines is planning to acquire 148 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine with an aim to inoculate at least half of its over 100 million population this year, Carlito Galvez Jr, the chief implementer of the Philippines' COVID-19 National Task Force, said Wednesday.

"Based on our current negotiations, we will be able to purchase at least 148 million doses from more or less seven manufacturers. However, it will be dependent on the global supply,” Galvez said, as quoted by the Inquirer news agency, adding that the Philippines was aiming to vaccinate from 50 to 70 million people this year.

Galvez noted that the country will receive 22 million doses from the WHO-sponsored COVAX Facility, and more will be purchased from different developers, including Novavax, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson&Johnson, Sinovac and the Russian Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

"We hope to close the deal with these companies this month," Galvez said.

Three firms have made applications to conduct phase 3 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines in the Philippines, including China's Sinovac and Clover Biopharmaceuticals, and Janssen Pharmaceutica, a pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson corporation. On 29 December, the chief of the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration said that the country authorized the start of phase 3 clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, while Sinovac and Clover Biopharmaceuticals still require the approval of the regulator.

COVAX is a component of the global ACT Accelerator facility whose aim is to bring together and make equitably accessible all global developments in the diagnostics, treatment and vaccines against COVID-19. The COVAX facility is responsible for the equitable access to vaccines both for countries that can afford it and those in need of assistance.

09:08 GMT 06.01.2021
Indonesia Detects 8,854 New COVID-19 Cases
08:20 GMT 06.01.2021
US Congressman Gets COVID-19 After Inoculated With Pfizer Vaccine
Pharmacy technicians received a delivery of Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., December 14, 2020.  - Sputnik International
US Congressman Gets COVID-19 After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine
08:05 GMT 06.01.2021
Russia Reports 24,217 New Coronavirus Cases, 445 Deaths

Russia's coronavirus tally has increased by 24,217 cases recorded over the past 24 hours, slightly down from the 24,246 the day before, the government's coronavirus response centre said in an update on Wednesday.

"Over the past day, 24,217 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 2,672 cases (11.0 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

The highest local daily increases were confirmed in Moscow (5,142), St. Petersburg (3,341) and the Moscow Region (1,097), as stated in the update.

Russia's cumulative case count has now reached 3,308,601 cases, with the rate of increase at 0.7 percent, according to the centre.

The death toll has reached 59,951, with an increase of 445 over the past day, down from 518 from the day before. Moscow and St.Petersburg reported highest daily increase in coronavirus-related fatalities — 70 and 58 respectively.

Total recoveries count 2,685,723 as 23,055 more people were discharged from hospitals over the past day, up from 22,632 from the day before.

08:00 GMT 06.01.2021
Armenia Registers 309 New Coronavirus Cases
07:57 GMT 06.01.2021
Kyrgyzstan Reports 144 New COVID-19 Cases
07:31 GMT 06.01.2021
Czech Republic Detects 17,278 New COVID-19 Cases
07:12 GMT 06.01.2021
One in Four 80-Year-Olds Have Already Had the COVID-19 Vaccine, UK Vaccine Minister Zahawi Says
05:54 GMT 06.01.2021
Indonesia to Apply Stricter Restrictions on Java, Bali for Two Weeks Amid Rising COVID-19 Fatality Rate
05:43 GMT 06.01.2021
Thailand Registers 365 New Coronavirus Cases
05:42 GMT 06.01.2021
Tokyo Daily Coronavirus Cases Top 1,500
05:41 GMT 06.01.2021
Germany Reports 21,237 New COVID-19 Cases
04:28 GMT 06.01.2021
India's COVID-19 Death Toll Rises Past 150,000
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