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A health worker shows the media how she prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a patient at a vaccination center set up in front of Rome's Termini central station, Monday, March 8, 2021 - Sputnik International

Coronavirus Live Updates: Several Major EU States Suspend AstraZeneca Vaccine Use

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The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has surpassed 2.65 million, while the overall tally has now topped 119 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The United States is the most affected nation with 29.4 million infected and 534,000 deaths, while Brazil is second with 11.4 million cases and a death toll of over 272,000. At the same time, India has the third-highest number of cases (11.3 million infections, 158,000 fatalities), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world (over 194,000 deaths, with 2.1 million cases having been detected).

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Table of contents
New firstOld first
03:32 GMT 16.03.2021
No Brazilian Strain of Coronavirus Registered in Russia, Consumer Rights Watchdog Says
03:26 GMT 16.03.2021
South African Coronavirus Variant Detected in Russia, Consumer Rights Watchdog States

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The South African coronavirus strain has been detected in Russia, but no cases of the Brazilian variant have been confirmed in the country so far, the Russian consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, informs.

"We have detected 28 isolates belonging to the UK variant, two belonging to the South African variant; no isolates belonging to the Brazilian variant were identified. In 16 cases, other mutations were identified," Rospotrebnadzor said.

02:38 GMT 16.03.2021
Venezuelan VP Says Her Country Won't Allow Use of AstraZeneca Jab Over Growing Health Risk Concerns
Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela January 11, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Venezuela Not to Allow Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine Amid Health Risk Concerns
02:06 GMT 16.03.2021
Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev Brings Batch of Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine to Vietnam Free of Charge

HANOI (Sputnik) - Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev brought to Vietnam a batch of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which Moscow donated to Hanoi, the Council said in a statement.

Patrushev arrived in Hanoi for two-day Russian-Vietnamese security consultations.

The Russian Security Council said that on an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin, an Il-96 plane, which carried Patrushev, delivered the Sputnik V vaccine batch as donation to Vietnam.

01:22 GMT 16.03.2021
Estonian Prime Minister Says Tests Positive for COVID-19

HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said she had tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Today I joined the thousands of Estonians who tested positive for coronavirus,” Kallas wrote on Facebook.

The prime minister said she did not know exactly where she could have gotten infected.

"Until last Thursday, as a close contact, I was in self isolation for 10 days. Upon coming out of isolation, I took a test, the result was negative, I felt great. But even after that I tried to work as much as possible on the Internet in order to reduce the number of contacts," Kallas said.

01:17 GMT 16.03.2021
Moldovan President Sandu Says in Talks to Receive Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

CHISINAU (Sputnik) - Moldovan President Maia Sandu said she was holding talks with Janssen Pharmaceutica on the issue of receiving Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine.

"Today, I held talks with representatives of Janssen Pharmaceutica, which produces Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, which has been approved and is being used in the United States. We considered the possibility of our citizens gaining access to the vaccine, both through the COVAX platform and directly," Sandu wrote on her Facebook page.

00:18 GMT 16.03.2021
Mexico Wants US to Share Some AstraZeneca Batches, Deputy Foreign Minister Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Mexico has asked the United States for the AstraZeneca vaccine that is in stock in the US but has not yet been approved there, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for multilateral affairs, Martha Delgado, told Reuters.

"The possibility exists of being able to have access to some AstraZeneca batches they have," Delgado said, explaining that the vaccine is already authorized in Mexico.

The deputy foreign minister said the US has not yet addressed Mexico’s request for AstraZeneca, as well as other COVID-19 vaccines, including the ones from Moderna and Novavax.

23:57 GMT 15.03.2021
Mexico City Begins Vaccination of Elderly With 2nd Component of Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced the start of the second phase of immunization of the elderly population with the coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute.

"The use of the second dose of Sputnik V vaccines in the municipalities of Tlahuac, Xochimilco and Iztacalco will begin on March 17. It is important to have a vaccination certificate, this stage is for those who received the first component, since the components are different," the mayor said on Twitter.

22:13 GMT 15.03.2021
Health Minister of Austria Urges EMA to Decide on Use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine
A nurse prepares an AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 at the Alonso Suazo healthcare center in Tegucigalpa, on March 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Austrian Health Minister Calls on EMA to Make Final Decision Regarding Use of AstraZeneca Jabs
20:48 GMT 15.03.2021
Portugal Suspends Administration of AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine - Reports

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Portugal’s National Authority for Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) is temporarily halting the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus amid side effect concerns, the national Publico newspaper reports.

The decision was made on Monday, in the wake of two cases of side effects in the country.

20:44 GMT 15.03.2021
New 'Combovirus' COVID-19 Strain Discovered in Ukraine, Watchdog Says

KIEV (Sputnik) - A new coronavirus variant has been discovered in Ukraine, Oleh Ruban, the head of the State Service on Food Safety and Consumer Protection, said on Monday.

"There are five globally confirmed coronavirus strains: COVID-19 itself, 'UK,' 'Spanish,' 'South African' and 'Brazilian.' These are five active variants that have spread around the world from China. What was discovered in Bukovina [the Chernivtsi Region] is the so-called combovirus, which is circulating in Ukraine along with COVID-19. It ... is similar to the UK strain, which is a modification of the 'South African' and 'Brazilian' strains. It also contains traits that have not yet been registered by the World Health Organization [WHO]," Ruban said, as quoted in the Vesti newspaper.

The watchdog head added that the so-called combovirus was aggressive in its spreading.

20:25 GMT 15.03.2021
Slovenia Halts Vaccination With AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine, Health Minister Says
19:50 GMT 15.03.2021
Biden Says US Close to Reaching Goal of 100Mln COVID-19 Shots, 100Mln Relief Checks

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is on track to provide Americans 100 million COVID-19 vaccines and the same volume of relief checks in 10 days, President Joe Biden said on Monday.

"Over the next ten days we will reach two goals. First is 100 million shots in people’s arms and 100 million checks in people’s pockets," Biden said at the White House.

Speaking of $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the president promised to provide $1,400 rescue checks to all Americans in the near future.

"This plan… extends unemployment insurance for the 11 million Americans unemployed," he said.

Biden said his plan will allow small businesses to keep doors open, and help in creating over 7 million new jobs by the end of the year

"It will generate economic growth for the entire nation," he added.

19:26 GMT 15.03.2021
EU Medicines Regulator Says Sees No Problem in Administering AstraZeneca Vaccine

BRUSSELS(Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA) insists that immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine must continue,  head of the agency's health threats and vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, said on Monday.

Cavaleri told the European Parliament's health committee that the agency "will not see any problem in continuing with the vaccination campaign using this vaccine."

The EMA said in a separate statement, published on Monday, that it was still investigating the link between the AstraZeneca shots and the increased occurrence of blood clots.

"EMA is working closely with the company, with experts in blood disorders, and with other health authorities including the UK’s [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] MHRA based on its experience with around 11 million administered doses of the vaccine. EMA’s investigation has been continuing over the weekend and rigorous analysis of all the data ... will be carried out in the coming days," the agency said.

18:26 GMT 15.03.2021
Indonesia Pauses AstraZeneca Vaccination Over Health Concerns

MOSCOW, March 15 (Sputnik) - The Indonesian Food and Drug Authority (BPOM) has decided to hold up the use of the UK-Swedish AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid fears that the recipients may develop potentially deadly blood clots, BPOM head Penny Lukito said on Monday.

"We are communicating with the [World Health Organization] WHO and the [Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization] SAGE out of precautions. The results will then be submitted to inter-agency team and the Health Ministry who will then decide whether AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in the national vaccination drive", Penny said, as quoted by the Jakarta Globe newspaper.

The BPOM chief expressed hope that it would not take long for the final say on the matter.

According to the media outlet, Indonesia received 1.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week through the WHO-led COVAX international distribution initiative.

WHO is expected to hold a meeting on the safety of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

AstraZeneca said on Sunday that it had found no evidence of increased risk of blood clots from its COVID-19 vaccine after conducting a careful review of safety data of over 17 million inoculated people across the European Union and the United Kingdom. In the meantime, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg and Norway have temporarily suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after citizens reported side-effects following inoculation from the vaccine's ABV5300 batch.

18:14 GMT 15.03.2021
Spain Announces Two-Week Suspension of AstraZeneca Vaccine Use
17:58 GMT 15.03.2021
WHO to Hold Meeting on AstraZeneca Vaccine Safety on Tuesday

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) global advisory committee on vaccine safety will hold a meeting on Tuesday on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"The WHO's advisory committee on vaccine safety has been reviewing the available data, is in close contact with the European Medicines Agency and will meet tomorrow", Tedros said at a briefing.

The Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has scheduled an extraordinary meeting for March 18, during which it intends to evaluate all recent incidents related to vaccinations with AstraZeneca, the regulator said.

"EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) will further review the information tomorrow (Tuesday) and has called an extraordinary meeting on Thursday 18 March to conclude on the information gathered and any further actions that may need to be taken", the statement says.

EMA also confirmed that during the investigation, the regulator proceeds from the position that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks associated with it.

17:41 GMT 15.03.2021
EU Weighing Requests to Buy Sputnik V Vaccine, PACE Chief Says

Rik Daems, a Belgian senator heading the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said on Monday that an EU authority was considering member states’ requests for buying Sputnik V vaccine.

Daems made the comment during a meeting with Russian parliamentary speaker Viacheslav Volodin in Moscow. He was quoted by the legislature's official news website, Duma TV.

Reuters cited an unnamed EU official as saying earlier in the day that the European Union was open to talks with Sputnik V developers and was waiting for enough requests from EU nations to launch the process.

Hungary and Slovakia broke ranks to buy the anti-coronavirus shot from Russia after complaining about a slow rollout of EU-approved vaccines. The Czech Republic is in talks to secure a batch. The EU drugs regulator started a rolling review of Sputnik V in early March.

17:29 GMT 15.03.2021
Turkey Reports 15,503 New Coronavirus Cases
17:27 GMT 15.03.2021
Spain Will Reportedly Suspend Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine for at Least 15 Days

Spain will suspend the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for at least 15 days from Monday, the Cadena Ser broadcaster reported on Monday.

Health Minister Carolina Darias convened an emergency meeting of the inter-territorial health council on Monday to work with autonomous communities to discuss the suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid reports of blood clots allegedly caused by it, the broadcaster reported.

17:27 GMT 15.03.2021
EU Must Use 'Every Opportunity' to Catch Up on Vaccination Campaign, Lawmaker Says

The European Union has botched its coronavirus vaccine rollout and now has to use every available option to make up for the time lost, Thierry Mariani, a member of the European Parliament from France's right-wing National Rally party, told Sputnik in an interview.

The lawmaker pointed to the successes of the United Kingdom and Serbia, non-EU countries, in acquiring vaccines, as a stark contrast to the bloc's less-than-stellar effort.

"We must acknowledge that Europe has tremendously failed in this mission, everybody understands it", Mariani said, adding that "In order to catch up [with the vaccination campaign] – if this is still possible – it has to use every possibility."

The lawmaker turned to Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to say that if the medication is effective then the block must purchase it.

"But Europe is losing time, hesitates, drowns in formalities. The vaccination for Europe is a proof of inefficiency, and this burden it will be dragging for a very long time", Mariani said.

Mariani added that Paris is long due to start cooperating with Moscow to jointly produce the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V.

"For months we should have been working together – at least France should have shared a certain number of its pharmaceutical production capacities working together with Russia to produce this vaccine in the interests of both sides", Mariani said.

The European Union started its vaccination campaign in late December and, so far, has authorised the use of vaccines by AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The bloc is at 6.4 percent of its population vaccinated with at least one dose, which is much lower compared to the countries of most other regions.

17:20 GMT 15.03.2021
San Marino Receiving Numerous Requests From Italians to Get Sputnik V Vaccine

Anastasia Levchenko - San Marino is receiving hundreds of calls and emails from Italians wishing to get a shot of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine that is available in the republic, but it can only be possible once the local vaccination campaign is completed, a representative of the Social Security Institute (ISS) of San Marino, the main public health institution of the republic, told Sputnik.

In mid-February, the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that San Marino authorized the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

"The population of San Marino has responded very well to the anti-Covid vaccination. I must add that the interest in the Sputnik V vaccine has also been very strong in Italy, and not only with hundreds of calls and even emails asking for the possibility to come and be vaccinated in San Marino. But this is currently not possible. It is necessary that there is first an agreement between the states and that vaccination of the San Marino population is completed", ISS Medical Director Sergio Rabini said.

In the future, retail sale of vaccines in pharmacies can also come to the fore. However, it is too early to envisage at the moment, Rabini went on to say.

"For now, the sale of the anti-Covid vaccines has not yet been planned. These are the decisions that are up to the government. If vaccine doses are avaliable for retail sale, the Social Security Institute will endeavor to allow this possibility as well, but only once vaccination has been completed for the entire San Marino population", Rabini specified.

At the same time, San Marino is in talks with Russia on buying additional doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in addition to the doses that were agreed upon in February, according to the official.

"At the moment, negotiations are on to receive more doses ... to be able to proceed quickly with the vaccination campaign", ISS Medical Director Sergio Rabini said.

According to Rabini, no unusual side-effects of Sputnik V vaccine have been registered in the republic so far.

"The reported side effects are in line with those of other vaccinations. The main adverse reactions that occurred are influenza-like manifestations (approximately 15.2%) and injection site reactions (approximately 5.4%)", Rabini specified.

The Pizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus is also available in San Marino apart from Sputnik V.

17:08 GMT 15.03.2021
Fauci: US to Export Coronavirus Vaccines Only After Vaccinating Americans

The United States will provide coronavirus vaccines to other countries only when it vaccinates its own people, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said on Monday.

"Our responsibility is getting our people vaccinated first before we start giving doses to other countries", Fauci told reporters during a press briefing.

Fauci expressed high confidence that the United States will have a surplus of vaccines and provide it to other states.

"But that will not occur until we actually have our people vaccinated", he said.

President Joe Biden had vowed that his administration would administer 100 million vaccine doses within his first 100 days in office. During his first prime time address, Biden said the United States was on track to reach this mark on his 60th day in office.

16:44 GMT 15.03.2021
Biden Nominates Former National Economic Council Head Gene Sperling to Oversee COVID Plan Implementation
16:44 GMT 15.03.2021
Italy Reports 15,267 New Cases, 354 New Deaths
16:43 GMT 15.03.2021
CDC Urges Americans to Take Precautions to Avoid Another Coronavorus Spike

Americans should continue taking safety precautions to prevent another spike of novel coronavirus cases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters on Monday.

"Cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer. They will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we get more people vaccinated", Walensky said during virtual press briefing.

The Unites States is moving in the right direction with respect to vaccinations, but the country is only starting to turn the corner in its fight with the disease, she said.

Walensky also expressed concern over people traveling throughout the United States without wearing face masks.

"We have seen footage of people enjoying spring break activities maskless. This is all in a context of still 50,000 cases per day", she said.

The United States has reported 29.4 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus with more than 534,000 virus-related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker.

15:43 GMT 15.03.2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Fuels UK Business Optimism, Survey Shows

The successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom has pushed UK business optimism to its highest level since 2015, with hotels and restaurants being the most optimistic sectors, data from a survey released on Monday has shown.

According to the study conducted by Accenture/ IHS Markit, 68 percent of the 1,400 firms polled last month expect an increase in business activity during the year ahead, while barely 11 percent forecast a reduction.

“At +57% in February, the resulting net balance was up sharply from +34% last October, signalling the highest levels of business optimism since June 2015”, the Irish consulting firm and the London-based American-UK information provider said in a press release.

Commenting on the survey, Rachel Barton, strategy & consulting lead at Accenture UK & Ireland, said: “After a tough year it is encouraging to see business confidence bouncing back. Although we are not out of the woods yet, it is important for UK business to take advantage of this confidence in order to build a sustainable recovery.”

The Accenture/IHS Markit UK business outlook also show that hotels and restaurants owners have changed their perception and from being the least confident sector in October last year have now become the most optimistic, with 79 percent expecting a strong recovery in the coming months.

Business optimism was widely based on the progress of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the UK, where more than 24,1 million people have received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The government´s plan is for all adults in the country to have been offered their first dose by the end of July or even earlier.

The easing of the COVID-19 lockdown measures, with the hospitality sector scheduled to reopen in the coming weeks, also fuelled optimism among the UK business sector.

15:37 GMT 15.03.2021
Germany Expects EU Regulator to Make Decision on AstraZeneca Within Week

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday that he expected the decision of the EU regulator on the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine within a week.

"Based on a current recommendation from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, the federal government is suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure. The reason is new reports of cerebral vein thrombosis that coincided with the Astrazeneca vaccination", Spahn told a news conference.

He noted that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would decide on the further use of the vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which requires two shots, will not be applied to those who have already received the first shot. According to the minister, if the EMA makes a positive decision, "it will be possible to catch up."

Spahn stressed that the decision had been taken as a precautionary measure and was not political.

"We understand the consequences, this decision was not easy for us, but it is obvious to me: this is a professional decision, not a political one", he said.

According to him, the German authorities took such a step so that the vaccine enjoyed the confidence of citizens and to confirm that its benefits outweigh the risks. "

We are suspending the use [of the vaccine] for testing, and the result of the inspection is open. Therefore, we expect that the European Medicines Agency, ideally, will make a decision within this week," the minister said.

15:31 GMT 15.03.2021
Macron: France Suspends Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine Pending European Watchdog Review

"European regulator EMA [European Medicines Agency] will give its opinion on the use of this vaccine tomorrow afternoon. On the recommendation of the Minister of Health ... it was decided as a precautionary measure to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the hopes of resuming it quickly if the opinion of the EMA allows", President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference, adding that France suspends the use of the vaccine until Tuesday.

15:27 GMT 15.03.2021
Italy Stops Administering AstraZeneca Vaccine Nationwide, Medical Authority Says
15:14 GMT 15.03.2021
Jordan Registers Highest One-Day COVID Case Tally of 9,417
14:41 GMT 15.03.2021
IMF: COVID-19 Pandemic to Increase Market Power of Large Companies, Limit Competition

As the COVID-19 pandemic is driving small and medium-sized businesses into bankruptcy, their market share is likely to be entrenched by the large companies, increasing the corporate market power and narrowing competition, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday.

"Firm-level analysis using Orbis data, which includes listed and private firms, suggests that the pandemic-driven wave of bankruptcies will lead to increases in industry concentration and market power", the IMF said in a report on corporate market power and related policy issues.

The share of the top four firms in the total sales of the top 20 companies within a narrowly defined sector may rise by 4 percent - to 60 percent - as a result of the pandemic "if the sales of bankrupt firms were to be reassigned to leading firms within their sector," the organisation underlined.

"The pandemic-driven shift to online activities is also benefiting the large technology companies, which could further strengthen market concentration in their industries", the IMF noted.

In light of this, the regulatory authorities should be especially vigilant in merger control as such decisions might be harmful in the future, according to the organization.

The global economy has suffered from unprecedented pressure last year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 and contracted by some 3.5 percent, the IMF said in January. Hospitality sector, the passenger airlines and the oil and gas sector were hit the most in light of the lockdown measures.

14:37 GMT 15.03.2021
Germany Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Use

Germany will suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in accordance with a recommendation from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Germany's authority responsible for vaccines, the Health Ministry said Monday.

"Due to a new recommendation by Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, the federal government has suspended the use of AstraZeneca in vaccinations against the coronavirus as a precaution", the health ministry tweeted.

The vaccine regulator believes it is necessary to conduct an investigation into reports of blood clots occurring in brain vessels following vaccination with the AstraZeneca in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

"The European Medicines Agency will decide whether and how the new findings will affect the approval of the vaccine," the health ministry added.

14:07 GMT 15.03.2021
Foreign Diplomats Want More Data on China’s Vaccines as Beijing Introduces COVID Passport
Пассажиры в защитных масках возле вокзала Уханя  - Sputnik International, 1920
Foreign Diplomats Want More Data on China’s Vaccines as Beijing Introduces COVID Passport
13:42 GMT 15.03.2021
West 'Hoarded Three Times More Vaccines Than It Needs', Iran's FM Zarif Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday accused Western countries of hoarding three times more vaccines than they need.

"I wish we knew that the vaccine could not be hoarded. Why has the West hoarded the vaccine three times more than its needs?", Zarif said during the closing ceremony of a coronavirus event in Tehran, as quoted by the Mehr news agency.

13:27 GMT 15.03.2021
About 65Mln Vaccinations Done Against COVID-19 in China

BEIJING (Sputnik) - China has administered around 65 million vaccine doses, Li Bin, the vice chairman of the National Health Commission, said on Monday.

"As of March 14, 64.98 million vaccinations against COVID-19 have been done in our country", Li said during a briefing.

12:21 GMT 15.03.2021
Israel to Resume Worldwide Air Traffic on Tuesday After COVID-19 Lockdown Lifted

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israel will lift its coronavirus-related restrictions and resume flights with all countries on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry's press office said, adding that Ben Gurion airport will only be able to receive up to 3,000 people per day.

"Starting tomorrow, restrictions on a number of passenger flights to and from Israel will be lifted. Flights to Israel can now be operated from any destination. A number of arriving flights will be limited by a quota of 3,000 people per day, as well as by social distancing measures and test procedures at the airport", the press office said.

11:24 GMT 15.03.2021
US Department of Health Admits to Pressuring Brazil Into Rejecting Authorisation of Sputnik V
Empty vials of the second dose of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are pictured at the San Martin hospital, in La Plata, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina January 21, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
US Department of Health Admits to Pressuring Brazil Into Rejecting Authorisation of Sputnik V
11:18 GMT 15.03.2021
European Commission Not Engaged in Talks With Russia on Centralised Purchase of Sputnik V Vaccine

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - There are currently no negotiations between the European Commission and producers of Russian COVID-19 vaccines on their purchase for the whole European Union, commission spokesman Stefan de Keersmaecker said on Monday.

The spokesman specified that EU member states and the commission can decide "at any time" to expand the vaccine portfolio.

"For the time being, however, as I also said last week, no talks are ongoing between an EU team or a negotiation team and the Russian vaccine producer", de Keersmaecker said during a briefing.

11:15 GMT 15.03.2021
French Firefighters Suspend Using AstraZeneca Vaccine After Side Effects Reported, Media Says

Firefighters from the southern Bouches-du-Rhone region of France have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine against coronavirus for their staff, after signs of negative side effects, according to BFM TV and AFP.

11:06 GMT 15.03.2021
Israel Plans to Beat COVID-19 by Late April, Ambassador to Russia Says
10:35 GMT 15.03.2021
Facebook to Label Vaccine Posts With Safety Information From WHO
A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Facebook to Label Vaccine Posts With Safety Information From WHO
10:31 GMT 15.03.2021
Poland Plans to Vaccinate All Who Are Interested Against COVID in Third Quarter of 2021
09:57 GMT 15.03.2021
Kremlin Slams Attempts to Politicise Vaccination Campaigns
09:50 GMT 15.03.2021
Indonesia Halts Use of AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine Amid Blood Clot Fears
09:46 GMT 15.03.2021
Global Demand for Sputnik V Exceeds Supply, While Vaccination of Russians Remains Top Priority, Kremlin Says
09:39 GMT 15.03.2021
Police File Case Against Bollywood Actor for Shooting Movie Despite Testing COVID-19 Positive
Bollywood cameraman  - Sputnik International, 1920
Police File Case Against Bollywood Actor for Shooting Movie Despite Testing COVID-19 Positive
09:20 GMT 15.03.2021
IATA Hopes Gov'ts Avoid Border Closures Should COVID-19 Cases Spike

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Jonathan Rowson - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to avoid enacting border closures should there be another spike in new COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic's so-called third wave, Sebastian Mikosz, the association's senior vice president for member and external relations, told Sputnik in an interview.

"I think that for airlines, the real challenge is being certain, and this is why we are so vocal towards governments not to close markets when we have another spike of the virus because we have to learn how to live with it", Mikosz stated.

09:15 GMT 15.03.2021
German ICU Medics Call for 'Immediate Return' to Partial Lockdown

"From the data we currently have and with the spread of the British mutation, we would argue strongly to return immediately into a lockdown to avoid a strong third wave", Christian Karagiannidis, director of Germany's intensive care register, told the broadcaster RBB.

09:08 GMT 15.03.2021
No Spectators Allowed at Tokyo Olympics Torch Relay Ceremony, Organisers Say
08:57 GMT 15.03.2021
Dutch Watchdog Registers 10 Reports of Possible Side Effects From AstraZeneca Vaccine

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - At least 10 cases of side effects after using the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 were registered in the Netherlands, the Dutch Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb said, as the authorities suspend the use of the vaccine in the country.

According to the centre, AstraZeneca vaccination-related side effects have been found to include thrombosis and embolism. At the same time, it is noted that there were no cases of a decrease in the number of blood platelets, as it was in cases recorded in Denmark and Norway. The Lareb centre said it would investigate all cases.

08:52 GMT 15.03.2021
EU Nations Considering Starting Talks With Producers of Russia's Sputnik V, Reports Suggest
A vial containing Russian vaccine Sputnik V is shown by a nurse at the South Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, as the vaccination with Sputnik V against the new coronavirus begins in the country. - Sputnik International, 1920
EU Nations Considering Starting Talks With Producers of Russia's Sputnik V, Reports Suggest
08:24 GMT 15.03.2021
Germany Continuing to Use AstraZeneca Vaccine, Health Ministry Spokesman Confirms
08:06 GMT 15.03.2021
Danish Medics Address Death of Elderly Woman From Blood Clots After AstraZeneca Jab as 'Highly Unusual'
Vials labelled AstraZeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration - Sputnik International, 1920
Dane Who Died After AstraZeneca Shot Had Unusual Symptoms, Health Agency Says
07:47 GMT 15.03.2021
COVID-19 Genomics UK Says There Are New Coronavirus Variants That Can Partially Evade Immune Response
07:21 GMT 15.03.2021
Philippine President Duterte's Spokesman Diagnosed With COVID-19
07:02 GMT 15.03.2021
Global Arms Trade Plateauing Amid COVID-19 as Sales Gap Between US, Russia Widens – SIPRI
AMX-10 tanks assigned the Qatar Emiri Land Forces roll through Al Galail, Qatar, April 28, during Eagle Resolve 2013, an annual multilateral exercise designed to enhance regional cooperative defense efforts in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations and U.S. Central Command. - Sputnik International, 1920
Global Arms Trade Plateauing Amid COVID-19 as Sales Gap Between US, Russia Widens – SIPRI
06:37 GMT 15.03.2021
Thailand to Start Using AstraZeneca Vaccine After Delay Due to Safety Concerns
06:33 GMT 15.03.2021
Ukraine Registers 6,792 New Coronavirus Cases
05:35 GMT 15.03.2021
Over 6,600 New COVID-19 Infections Confirmed in Germany
05:24 GMT 15.03.2021
South Korea Confirms 382 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours
04:36 GMT 15.03.2021
India Reports 26,000 New Coronavirus Cases
04:31 GMT 15.03.2021
New York COVID Death Toll Higher Than WWII, Vietnam, Sandy, 9/11 Combined, Mayor Says

"Today, that number [New Yorkers lost to COVID-19] is more than 30,000. It’s a number we can barely imagine. More New Yorkers lost than in World War II, Vietnam, Hurricane Sandy, and 9/11 put together", New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a commemorative ceremony for victims of the pandemic.

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