A devotee prays to the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, on the occasion of his birthday, celebrated as Magha Ganesh Jayanti, at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) themed pandal in Mumbai, India February 16, 2021 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: US Coronavirus Case Tally Tops 30 Million - Johns Hopkins University

At the moment, over 124 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across the world, while the global death toll from the pandemic has now reached 2.73 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The US tops the list of the most affected nations with over 29.9 million infected and 543,000 deaths. It is followed by Brazil with around 12.1 million cases and a death toll of over 298,000.

At the same time, India has the third-highest number of infections (11.6 million cases, around 160,000 fatalities), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world (over 199,000 deaths, with 2.2 million cases having been detected in the country).

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02:47 GMT 25.03.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have discussed the coronavirus pandemic by phone, Trudeau's office said in a statement.

"Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Prime Minister Trudeau and President von der Leyen discussed the global COVID-19 pandemic and the steps being taken in Canada and in the European Union to fight the pandemic and save lives," the office said.

"They agreed on the importance of rolling out safe and effective vaccines as quickly as possible, including with respect to continued close Canada-EU cooperation. The two leaders emphasized their support for international response efforts to the pandemic, including to support more vulnerable countries, and looked forward to the upcoming high-level meeting on International Debt Architecture and Liquidity at the United Nations on March 29," it said.

Trudeau and von der Leyen also discussed other global issues, according to the statement.

"The leaders agreed on the importance of working in a coordinated manner with partners and allies, noting the recent sanctions announcements by Canada, the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom related to human rights abuses in Xinjiang and in Russia regarding the detention of Alexei Navalny," the Canadian prime minister's office said.

22:52 GMT 24.03.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The number of cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States has surpassed 30 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US case tally reached 30,001,245, with 545,053 deaths.

22:37 GMT 24.03.2021

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Paraguay has decided to introduce coronavirus-linked strict restrictions on movement on the threshold of the Catholic Easter, Cabinet chief Hernan Huttemann said.

"All people of the republic will have to remain at home and will be able to leave their houses to buy food products, medicines and cleaning tools," Huttemann said at a press conference on late Wednesday.

People will be allowed to leave home between 5:00 a.m. (08:00 GMT) and 8:00 p.m. The restrictions will enter into force on Saturday and last until April 4 when the Catholic Easter is celebrated.

The Health Ministry, in turn, said that the epidemiological situation in the country was critical as hospitals are almost full.

20:41 GMT 24.03.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Small Business Administration (SBA) distributed $910 billion to small enterprises hurt by the coronavirus pandemic measures but reduced oversight in a bid to speed payments left the program vulnerable to fraud, the General Accountability Office (GAO) said on Wednesday.

"Although SBA has taken some steps to mitigate fraud risks to PPP [Paycheck Production Program] and EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loans], such as conducting PPP loan reviews and implementing new EIDL controls, the agency has not yet conducted a formal fraud risk assessment for either program," GAO said in a report.

So far, the SBA made 17 million loans totaling $910 million through the two relief programs, the report said.

As indicators of fraud, the report cited 5,000 advances totaling about $26 million and the approval of at least 3,000 loans totaling about $156 million to potentially ineligible businesses under the EIDL program, the report also said.

Banks filed more than 40,000 suspicious activity reports for the two programs, the report added.

In addition, the Justice Department announced more than 100 fraud-related cases associated with PPP loans and 30 fraud-related cases associated with EIDL loans as of February 2021, according to the report.

18:17 GMT 24.03.2021

The German government approved a budget plan for 2022 on Wednesday that allows new borrowing to the tune of 81.5 billion euros ($96.4 billion).

"It is expensive. But doing nothing would cost us much more. In the face of the pandemic, a higher debt ceiling is necessary and right", Finance Minister Olaf Scholz tweeted.

The government also expects federal spending to drop to 419.8 billion euros in 2022 from 547.7 billion euros recorded this year.

The cabinet has suspended borrowing limits for a third straight year. Germany stopped applying the debt brake policy, which caps borrowing at less than 1 percent of gross domestic product, when the outbreak began.

The 2020 budget allowed borrowing of up to 217.8 billion euros. This year, the government will ramp up borrowing by 60.4 billion euros to 240.2 billion to cover the costs of stimulus packages and low tax returns.

18:06 GMT 24.03.2021

About 300 migrant children currently held in US federal care facilities have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the news website Axios reported on Wednesday citing the Department of Health and Human Services sources.

The migrant children infected with the coronavirus are in isolation at the care facilities and only account for about 3 percent of the total number of migrant children in US custody, the report said.

Since March 2020, 38,932 tests have been conducted on migrants and 2,897 came out positive, the report added.

About 11,500 migrant children are presently held in US federal care facilities, according to the report.

17:10 GMT 24.03.2021

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that he might have to put France on the "red list" of countries from which travel is prohibited over coronavirus concerns, even though this will likely lead to trade disruptions.

"In terms of putting France on the red list … so there are consequences, but it is something that we will have to look at. We will have to look at tougher measures just because of this ambiguity about the effectiveness of the vaccines [against new variants]", he told a parliamentary committee.

The Labour party demanded earlier in the day that France be added to the list of at-risk countries amid a rapid spread of the disease on the continent, which is attributed to mutated viral strains. The European Union is also behind the UK on vaccination rates.

Johnson said there would be consequences for UK supplies and for cross-Channel movements. He estimated that the United Kingdom imported some 75 percent of medicines and 50 percent of food through the so-called Short Straits route between the port cities of Dover and Calais.

17:10 GMT 24.03.2021
16:51 GMT 24.03.2021
16:37 GMT 24.03.2021
16:05 GMT 24.03.2021
14:41 GMT 24.03.2021
13:42 GMT 24.03.2021

"The situation is completely unacceptable", government spokesman Gabriel Attal said, addressing the issue.

12:57 GMT 24.03.2021
A nurse prepares a syringe with the Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 vaccine at the CHC Landenne care home in Landenne-sur-Meuse, near Namur, Belgium, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Macau and Hong Kong Temporarily Suspend Use of Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Over Packaging Defect
12:42 GMT 24.03.2021
 COVID-19 vaccine  - Sputnik International, 1920
YouGov Poll Reveals 54% of Respondents Consider Russia Most Trusted Vaccine Producer, RDIF Says
12:38 GMT 24.03.2021

"AstraZeneca is very far away from their contractual commitments. They have committed to deliver 120 million doses to the EU in the first quarter of the year. They are promising to be able to deliver 30 million doses but they are not even close to this figure as of today", European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said at a press conference.

11:59 GMT 24.03.2021
The day's closing numbers are displayed after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on March 8, 2018 in New York. - Sputnik International, 1920
India’s Stock Markets Nosedive as Investors Take Fright At Double Mutant Variant Coronavirus
11:26 GMT 24.03.2021
10:52 GMT 24.03.2021
09:50 GMT 24.03.2021
A health official prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a community vaccination centre at Hartlepool Town Hall, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hartlepool, Britain, January 31, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
European Commission Reportedly Ready to Tighten Screws on EU COVID Vaccine Export Regulations
09:41 GMT 24.03.2021

"The chancellor has invited the (regional leaders) at short notice for 11 o'clock today and I think that we will talk very critically there about what happened two days ago", CDU head Armin Laschet told a regional parliament meeting in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

09:30 GMT 24.03.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin received the first shot of a Russian two-phase vaccine against the coronavirus, and the second injection is expected in around three weeks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

"Yes, this was the first injection. The second one will follow in around three weeks", Peskov said.

On Tuesday, Peskov announced that Putin was feeling fine after inoculation. Reporters asked the Kremlin spokesman to specify if this was the first shot of the vaccine.

09:10 GMT 24.03.2021
09:09 GMT 24.03.2021
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08:34 GMT 24.03.2021
08:27 GMT 24.03.2021
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
Over 40% of Vaccinated French Citizens Would Want to Get Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine, Poll Shows
08:11 GMT 24.03.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia registered 8,861 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,457 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,483,471, the coronavirus response centre said on Wednesday.

"Over the past day, 8,861 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 1,078 cases (12,2 percent) without clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 4,483,471, with the rate of increase at 0.2 percent.

08:09 GMT 24.03.2021

"RDIF ... and ChemRar Group announce that Russian anti-COVID Favipiravir-based drug Avifavir has been registered by the National Agency of Drug and Food Control of Indonesia ... Avifavir was registered in Indonesia under an accelerated procedure based on data obtained during an extended phase II-III clinical trial, which took place in compliance with the GCP [Good Clinical Practice] rules in April-September 2020 at 30 specialized centers throughout Russia involving 460 patients," RDIF said in a press release.

08:06 GMT 24.03.2021
07:36 GMT 24.03.2021

"Though VOCs [variants of concern] and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states", the Health Ministry said in a statement.

07:21 GMT 24.03.2021
06:30 GMT 24.03.2021
2015 Eurovision Song Contest second semi-final in Vienna - Sputnik International, 1920
Sweden's Coronavirus Strategy, Immigration Darken Its Image Among Neighbours
05:16 GMT 24.03.2021
Syringes with the Pfizer-BioNTec  vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) sit on the table at the Victor Walchirk Apartments in Evanston, Illinois, U.S. February 22, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Held at Gunpoint: Armed Man Stops US National Guard Convoy With COVID-19 Vaccines
04:32 GMT 24.03.2021
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