Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends the inauguration of an installation of the National Guard in San Luis Posoti, Mexico January 24, 2021. Manuel Lopez Obrador has tested positive for COVID-19, he said on Sunday, adding that his symptoms were light and that he was receiving medical treatment. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Mexican President Becomes Latest World Leader to Test Positive for COVID-19

The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 99.1 million people worldwide and claimed the lives of at least 22.1 million people, according to Johns Hopkins University's data for Sunday.

The United States has reached the 25 million cases threshold, reporting more than 419,000 fatalities in total on Sunday. Since November, the nation has been registering no less than 100,000 new cases per day, which has solidified its unfortunate position as the most coronavirus-affected nation.

Eighteen countries overall are reported to have more than 1 million confirmed cases, with India, Brazil, Russia, and the UK being in the top 5.

The highest death toll in the world has been registered in the US, Brazil, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

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03:49 GMT 25.01.2021

CAIRO (Sputnik) - Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi announced that he has contracted the coronavirus and has severe symptoms.

"Today, my tests confirmed that I have Covid-19, despite taking all the necessary precautions and respecting the health protocol," Jerandi said on Twitter late on Sunday, adding that he has "severe symptoms."

The foreign minister said he will now be more insistent on continuing with efforts to encourage vaccination to protect Tunisians from the virus.

00:47 GMT 25.01.2021

"I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19. The symptoms are mild but I am already under medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will all move forward," the president said on Twitter on Sunday.

20:36 GMT 24.01.2021
19:34 GMT 24.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Ecuadorian medical regulator has approved the use of the vaccine against coronavirus developed jointly by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Oxford University, the country's Health Ministry said on Sunday.

"The National Agency for Regulation, Control and Sanitary Vigilance (ARCSA) has approved the use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine," the statement said.

The Central American nation plans to purchase 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The authorities of Ecuador have previously signed an agreement with Pfizer on the delivery of 2 million doses of the vaccine. The government took a decision to vaccinate 9 million people or 60 percent of the population.

18:18 GMT 24.01.2021
15:40 GMT 24.01.2021

Flight restrictions will come into force at 22:00 GMT on 25 January, according to Israel's Maariv news website.

14:12 GMT 24.01.2021

Germany will become the first EU country to use antibody cocktails to treat COVID-19 patients likely similar to the one used to treat former US President Donald Trump, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said in an interview published Sunday.

"Starting next week, the monoclonal antibodies will be used in Germany as the first country in the EU. Initially in university clinics," Spahn said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.

Although the minister did not specify the manufacturer or country of origin, the publication said it understood that it was the same treatment given to Trump when he became infected in October.

Spahn said that the federal government bought 200,000 doses for 400 million euros ($487 million). First doses are expected to be administered in the course of next week.

According to the minister, the treatment acts as a supplement to the immune system in recognizing and attacking the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, thereby helping patients avoid becoming severely ill.

During his treatment after catching COVID-19 last year, Trump was given a number of drugs difficult to access for the general public, including Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail.

14:11 GMT 24.01.2021

Egypt plans to register three coronavirus vaccines, including a Russian one, in the coming days, Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Sunday.

"We have started to take steps to register three vaccines - Chinese, UK and Russian. In the coming days we will receive new batches of the vaccines. The new vaccines will be registered," Zayed said at a press conference.

According to the minister, the authorities have signed contracts for the delivery of 100 million doses of various vaccines. Zayed also announced the start of a national vaccination campaign and medical personnel will be the first to get vaccinated, starting from Monday.

Earlier in January, the Russian embassy in Egypt told Sputnik that Russia was ready to deliver the Sputnik V vaccine to the North African country as well as to organize the technology transfer for the production of the vaccine in Egypt.

Egypt has confirmed a total of over 161,000 cases of COVID-19, including 8,902 fatalities. Over 126,000 people have recovered from the disease.

12:50 GMT 24.01.2021

President Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday called on Serbian nationals to avoid panic over a new UK strain of COVID-19 after a Serbian woman was confirmed to have the infection upon arrival from London.

Prominent Serbian epidemiologist and crisis staff member Branislav Tiodorovic earlier said that it was a matter of time when new strains of the coronavirus would appear in Serbia, adding that the UK strain had already appeared in the Western Balkans.

"The new strain of coronavirus has penetrated into Serbia, it was detected in a Serbian citizen who had arrived from London to Belgrade. The new strain is frightening because of a big number of those infected in the UK, but there is no place for panic, because all contacts of the traveler from the UK have been isolated," Vucic said as aired by TV Prva.

According to the president, the infected person had a negative PCR test upon her arrival from the UK but she showed mild symptoms later, while her husband's disease is more severe.

The mutant strain was detected by UK health authorities in mid-December, prompting the government to impose a new lockdown and many other countries to close the borders with the United Kingdom. Early evidence suggests that the UK variant, in particular, could be more deadly than the common strains.

11:58 GMT 24.01.2021
10:52 GMT 24.01.2021

The European Union will make COVID-19 vaccine producers live up to their contractual obligations, European Council President Charles Michel said on Sunday, after Pfizer and AstraZeneca announced supply cuts.

"We plan to enforce the contracts approved by the pharmaceutical companies, and we expect more clarity, and we will use all legal means at our disposal", the European Council president told Europe 1.

He dodged the question about whether the pharma companies could expect EU sanctions.

Charles Michel said the EU knew very well that there could be obstacles in vaccine production chains, but stressed that the bloc expected pharma giants to engage in a transparent dialogue about reasons for their failures.

US drugmaker Pfizer reduced deliveries to the EU this week allegedly to adjust production in Europe. AstraZeneca said it would too cut supplies of its cheaper vaccine by 60 percent after running into production problems at a Belgian site.

10:01 GMT 24.01.2021

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that while it appears as though the national lockdown is working, the COVID-19 incidence rate remains much too high to consider easing restrictions.

"There is early evidence that the lockdown is starting to bring cases down but we’re a long, long, long way away from being low enough because the case rate was incredibly high," Hancock said in a televised appearance on Sky News.

He went on to address the media reports that the government was considering paying citizens 500 pounds ($684) weekly to remain at home, saying that the authorities are reviewing all options to motivate compliance but that such payments were not yet government policy.

A day prior, media reported that the government extended the powers of local officials to impose restrictions till July.

The UK is in the midst of its third wave of lockdowns and is posting between 30-40,000 new cases daily over the past week. This is down from 50-60,000 daily increase witnessed over the the holiday season.

09:44 GMT 24.01.2021
08:03 GMT 24.01.2021

Russia registered 21,127, COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 20,921 the day before, taking the tally to 3,719,400, the coronavirus response centre said on Sunday.

"Over the past day, 21,127 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 2,306 cases (10.9 percent) that were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 3,719,400, with the rate of increase at 0.57 percent.

Moscow confirmed 3,069 new coronavirus cases over the given period, up from 2,668 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 2,929 cases, down from 3,056 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 1,134 new cases, up from 1,121 on Saturday.

The response centre reported 491 coronavirus fatalities, down from 559 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 69,462.

Total recoveries count 3,131,760 after 22,445 people were discharged from hospitals over the past day, down from 27,779 the day before.

06:12 GMT 24.01.2021

New Zealand recorded its first community case of COVID-19 transmission in over two months after a woman tested positive weeks after leaving managed isolation.

"We received information from the Ministry of Health about a person in the community who has tested positive for COVID-19 after they have left our managed isolation facilities", the minister for COVID-19 Response, Chris Hipkins, said at a news conference Sunday, shared by the New Zealand Herald.

Hipkins said health officials were contact-tracing and undertaking an investigation, adding that it was too early to speculate on what the government’s response options may be.

Following Hipkins, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield explained that the 56-year-old woman in question had been traveling in Europe for several months, visiting Spain and the Netherlands before taking a return route via London and Singapore to arrive in Auckland on December 30. She left government-managed 14-day hotel isolation after two negative tests and no symptoms.

The woman visited some 30 locations on the North Island with her husband over the next several days as she began to develop mild symptoms. Four close contacts have been identified, tested and isolated.

"She was extremely assiduous in using the NZ COVID Tracer app, to record QR codes, and this has meant that we have been able to rapidly identify locations where she has been. Our teams are in the process of contacting those places", Bloomfield said at the conference.

All the new COVID-19 cases in New Zealand recorded over December and January have been imported from abroad and identified in government-managed isolation.

The government has booked airport hotels to use as isolation facilities where all entrants remain for two weeks before being allowed into the country. Returnees must then record their whereabouts and respond to regular checkup calls.

New Zealand has been hailed as a beacon of diligent COVID-19 response, keeping the overall count below 2,300 cases and 25 deaths. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made calls to all the families of the COVID-19 fatalities to pass her condolences and apologies.

05:08 GMT 24.01.2021
05:07 GMT 24.01.2021
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