Relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) mourn a man, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), next to his funeral pyre at a crematorium in New Delhi, India April 21, 2021.  - Sputnik International

Live Updates: India Confirms 352,991 New COVID-19 Cases in Record Spike

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The global coronavirus tally is now well over 146 million cases, with the death toll surpassing 3.1 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University that tracks data on the pandemic.

The United States remains the most affected country, with almost 32 million infected, while at least 572,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. It is followed by India, with almost 17 million cases and 192,000 deaths, and Brazil with over 14 million cases and around 390,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, Mexico has the third-highest death toll on the planet, with over 214,000 fatalities and almost 2.3 million infected.

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03:33 GMT 27.04.2021

PRAGUE (Sputnik) - The Slovak government extended the coronavirus-related emergency situation regime for another 30 days, until May 28, the TA3 TV channel reported.

According to the legislation, the cabinet's decision must be approved by the republic's parliament within 20 days.

02:41 GMT 27.04.2021

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, Anvisa, has rejected a regional government request on the import of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

During a Monday meeting of the Collegiate Board, broadcast on Anvisa’s website, the regulatory body unanimously decided (five votes in favor) to veto the import of Sputnik V.

Earlier on Monday, the National Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) of Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTIC) recognized Sputnik V as safe and approved its commercial release in the country.

According to the ministry, the decision was made after evaluating complementary documents provided by the Uniao Quimica pharmaceutical company, which plans to produce Sputnik V in Brazil, under the name of Gam-COVID-Vac.

Coordinator of CTNBio’s Executive Secretariat, Rubens Jose Nascimento, said that the safety assessment of the Russian vaccine issued on Monday would allow Anvisa to decide on the import of Sputnik V.

01:30 GMT 27.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Ecuador’s President-elect Guillermo Lasso has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as the leaders of China and the US, for help in fighting COVID-19 and getting the Ecuadorian population vaccinated.

Presenting the country's new cabinet of ministers on Monday, Lasso said he had sent a letter to Putin "to request support in what concerns vaccines," specifying that the new government had already initiated procedures to arrange speedy deliveries.

Lasso said he had spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping, asking him to speed up the vaccine shipments already agreed upon and thanking Beijing for a recent vaccine donation. Ecuador’s president-elect has also asked Washington for help in getting Ecuadorians vaccinated.

00:18 GMT 27.04.2021

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Chile decided to keep the borders closed for another month over COVID-19, Health Minister Enrique Paris told reporters.

"The borders will remain closed for another 30 days," he said.

23:24 GMT 26.04.2021

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - A new batch of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine was delivered to Armenia on Monday, the country's Health Ministry said in a statement.

“Today a new batch of the Sputnik V vaccine was brought to Armenia,” the ministry said on Facebook.

The batch contains the vaccine's first component.

23:06 GMT 26.04.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US and Japanese SpaceX mission crew on the International Space Station (ISS) are looking forward to their coronavirus vaccinations after flying back to earth this week on the SpaceX Dragon after a more than five month mission, astronaut Shannon Walker said on Monday.

"We will be getting the COVID vaccine seven to ten days after we get back," Walker told a televised National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) press conference from orbit.

Walker and US fellow astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi from Japan will fly the Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience home at 7:05 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), NASA said.

21:49 GMT 26.04.2021

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTIC) has recognized Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine against COVID-19, as safe and has approved its commercial release in the country.

"The National Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation approved the commercial release of the vaccine under the name of Gam-COVID-Vac [Sputnik V]," the ministry said on Monday.

21:31 GMT 26.04.2021

BANGKOK (Sputnik) - Thailand plans to use Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine at the third stage of COVID-19 immunization starting August, a rollout schedule seen by state media shows.

Thailand has not yet approved the two-shot Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use, but the government has repeatedly suggested adding it to the tool kit.

Medical workers treating COVID-19 patients and people over 80 are at the front of the vaccine line. People with chronic diseases and those over 60 will be prioritized in the second phase starting May.

The national news bureau said that anyone who wants to get a shot would be given a chance in the third phase starting August. The health ministry will use Sputnik V, Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.

20:19 GMT 26.04.2021

PARIS (Sputnik) - France will conduct a humanitarian operation to support India in its efforts to stem the surge of the coronavirus disease, the country's foreign ministry said on Monday.

"Per the request of President of the Republic [Emmanuel Macron], the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs has been fully mobilized to organize an exceptional operation of solidarity in support of the Indian people, who have suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, by the end of the week, India will receive eight French oxygen generators, each capable of making a hospital self-sufficient when it comes to medical oxygen for ten years.

Paris will also send liquefied oxygen tanks and special medical equipment, such as 28 respirators and 200 electric syringe pumps.

20:13 GMT 26.04.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will send a special strike team to India to help the country fight the new spike in coronavirus cases, a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Monday.

"US CDC [Centers for Decease Control and Prevention] working with USAID [US Agency for International Development] will urgently deploy a strike team to India, which will include public health experts to work in close collaboration with our embassy, with Indian health industry experts and with India’s epidemic intelligence service stuff," the official said during virtual press briefing.

The strike team will work with Indian health officials and practitioners in a number of areas, including laboratory services surveillance and epidemiology, the official said.

The United States is also exploring options to provide India with oxygen and related supplies, as well as training assistance and transportation services, the official added.

20:03 GMT 26.04.2021
A nurse prepares a dose of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a sport centre, as the country starts mass inoculation campaign with the Russian vaccine donated by Serbia, in Skopje, North Macedonia April 5, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
RDIF to Deliver Sputnik V Vaccine to India, First Doses to Arrive on May 1
19:15 GMT 26.04.2021

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - Indians are advised to wear face protection at home, especially if there is a suspected COVID-19 patient in the family, senior health official Vinod Paul said Monday.

"The time has come that we start wearing a mask even when at home," he told a news conference.

18:42 GMT 26.04.2021
 COVID-19 vaccine  - Sputnik International, 1920
Bolivia Vows to Produce COVID Vaccines, Including Russian One
18:39 GMT 26.04.2021

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised on Monday that prioritisation of people for vaccination by age group would end in June.

"We will be able to stop prioritising people by group in June or a bit later. This does not mean that everyone will be vaccinated, rather everyone will be able to make an appointment", she said.

Merkel, who spoke to the press after meeting with state governors, said that everyone who wants to be vaccinated against the coronavirus will get a shot by fall, provided that all stockpiled vaccines are effective.

"With the volumes that we have ordered, we will make sure that everyone will have an opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of summer", she told a news conference.

Germany is actively studying the impact of coronavirus variants on vaccine efficacy, Merkel said, including of the mutation that has been driving infection numbers upwards in India.

18:32 GMT 26.04.2021
18:07 GMT 26.04.2021
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a video-conferenced meeting with representatives of the German Association of Local Utilities of municipally determined infrastructure undertakings and economic enterprises in Berlin, Germany March 9, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Merkel: Germany Independently Dealing With Possible Purchase of Russian Vaccine Sputnik V
17:08 GMT 26.04.2021
15:30 GMT 26.04.2021

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the pandemic on a phonecall with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshihide Suga, with both officials stressing the importance of bilateral cooperation to deal with the health crisis, the Indian External Affairs Ministry said on Monday.

"The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation in the respective country and exchanged views on various regional and global challenges posed by the pandemic. They highlighted the importance of close India-Japan cooperation to overcome these challenges, such as by working together to create resilient, diversified and trustworthy supply chains, ensuring reliable supply of critical materials and technologies, and developing new partnerships in manufacturing and skill development", the ministry said in a statement.

Modi and Suga welcomed the support each country provides to their citizens amid the pandemic, while the Indian prime minister also thanked his Japanese colleague for the assistance rendered to New Delhi by Tokyo in its fight against the disease. Modi also wished to receive Suga in India as soon as circumstances allow.

With 17.3 million cases, India comes in second after the US in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections. India's COVID-19 tally has been increasing rapidly since mid-February, continually setting daily records in new cases.

Countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have already offered their support to New Delhi in handling the situation. Russia is reported to have offered to supply medical oxygen and antiviral medication Remdesivir.

15:00 GMT 26.04.2021
Remdeform (Remdesivir), a COVID-19 drug developed at Russian firm Pharmasyntez - Sputnik International, 1920
Russian Firm Pharmasyntez Ready to Deliver 1Mln Remdesivir Packages to India by June
14:52 GMT 26.04.2021

Italy has begun implementation of the new governmental decree, which has the aim of easing restrictions in most parts of the country starting today, according to the document issued by Interior Minister Lamberto Giannini.

Italy adopted a color code for its regions — red, orange, yellow and white — based on their coronavirus infection rates. According to the latest data provided by the health ministry, most regions are in the yellow zone at the moment. Five regions — Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, Sicily, Aosta Valley — are orange and only Sardinia is red. The country has no white regions.

According to the decree, 15 "yellow" regions will open restaurants, pizzerias and bars for outdoor service.  Movie theaters, museums, theaters, exhibition halls will work under certain restrictions, including social distance and masks. The free movement between all “yellow” regions will be resumed. However, citizens have to present vaccination documents or fresh PCR test results when crossing the borders of “orange” and “yellow” regions.

The document, issued by the interior minister and sent to all police chiefs in the country, provides strict control at the borders of “orange” and “yellow” zones, checking the work of catering facilities, including those located at roads and highways. In addition, policemen will pay special attention to mass gatherings of young people that may be of concern to authorities.

14:51 GMT 26.04.2021
14:44 GMT 26.04.2021

Fewer than 1 in 4 Americans not yet immunised against the coronavirus are willing to take the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, due to broad mistrust after government health officials briefly paused the use of the single-shot for safety reasons, a Washington Post-ABC News survey showed on Monday.

“The nationwide survey shows that slightly fewer than half of US adults overall say they consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine very or somewhat safe after its use was halted this month following reports of rare, severe blood clots”, the Washington Post reported, making public the findings of the poll.

The Post said two other coronavirus vaccines authorised for emergency use in the United States — one developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech and the other by Moderna — elicit significantly greater public confidence. More than 7 in 10 people say they regard each of those two-shot vaccines to be very or somewhat safe, the poll found.

The unwillingness of about 3 in 4 unvaccinated US adults to get the Johnson & Johnson shot points to hurdles facing the Biden administration and state and local public health officials in restarting use of a vaccine that was once heralded for its convenience.

The same Washington Post-ABC News survey, however, found that 64 percent approved of President Joe Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration on 13 April temporarily paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six cases of blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets were confirmed in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

The two federal agencies lifted the pause on Friday, although the CDC continued to warn about the increased risk of very rare but severe blood clots. The Washington Post-ABC News survey was carried out before the pause was lifted.

The United States has been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic since its global outbreak last year, accounting for over 32 million confirmed cases of the virus from a global tally of more than 147 million. A total of more than 572,000 Americans have died from the pandemic, from a worldwide death toll of 3.1 million.

As of 25 April, at least 38.9 percent of the American public have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 24.6 percent have been fully immunised against the virus.

14:39 GMT 26.04.2021

The second batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 will be delivered to Honduras in the near future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov held a meeting with his Honduran counterpart, Lisandro Rosales, who began his three-day working visit to Russia on Sunday.

"Particular attention was paid to establishing a joint effort to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a contract that was signed last month. The first shipment has already been made. It seems that the second batch is scheduled for tomorrow. Today, the minister and his delegation will have a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Direct Investment Fund [RDIF]", Lavrov said after the meeting.

Honduras has already purchased 4.2 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from the RDIF, the sovereign wealth fund in charge of Russian vaccine exports. The first shipment arrived in Honduras on 16 April.

14:38 GMT 26.04.2021

Italy's northern region of Veneto has registered its first case of the Indian strain of COVID-19, authorities said on Monday.

"We are talking about two adult Indian citizens — a father and a daughter, who recently returned from India. They have contracted the Indian [COVID-19] variant. Both of them are in self-isolation at their place of residence", the region's president Luca Zaia told reporters.

The official added that the authorities would be closely monitoring the situation.

On Sunday, Italy banned entry for people who have been in India in the past two weeks.

The total number of those who tested positive for COVID-19 in India has exceeded 17 million, making it the second country after the United States in terms of the number of confirmed cases. Over the past several days, India has been witnessing record daily cases and mortality rates.

Earlier this week, a number of countries, including Germany, Iran and Canada, announced temporary restrictions on passenger traffic with India after a new COVID-19 variant with triple mutation — variant B.1.618 — had been discovered in the West Bengal state. Indian scientists believe that the new variant transmits faster than any previously known ones and infects old and young alike.

14:38 GMT 26.04.2021

The government of Canada has inked a deal with a medical laboratory services company to screen temporary foreign workers entering the province of Quebec for the novel coronavirus, Public Services and Procurement Canada said on Monday.

"Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that the Government of Canada has signed a new agreement with Dynacare, valued at approximately $2 million [US$1.61 million], to provide dedicated testing support for temporary foreign workers arriving by air in Quebec", the government said in a statement.

The agreement will shore up Canada’s ability to deal with the expected influx of temporary foreign workers in the coming months, the statement read.

Dynacare will begin screening passengers inbound to Canada through the Montreal international airport beginning on 28 April, according to the statement.

14:37 GMT 26.04.2021

Canada’s health regulator has approved the country’s first COVID-19 self-test kit, manufacturer Lucira Health said on Monday.

“The… CHECK IT COVID-19 test kit is the first self-test authorized by Health Canada for individuals with or without symptoms. It delivers PCR quality molecular accuracy in 30 minutes or less at home and is expected to be available online for Canadians to order by June 2021”, Lucira Health said in a statement.

The test works by analysing a self-collected nasal swab within approximately 30 minutes, the company said, adding that it will be available to consumers for purchase without prescription.

The test kit will retail for $60.36, Lucira Health said.

Th kit is the first self-administered COVID-19 test kit approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), having received emergency use authorisation in November.

13:51 GMT 26.04.2021
12:58 GMT 26.04.2021
12:52 GMT 26.04.2021
12:51 GMT 26.04.2021
12:39 GMT 26.04.2021
12:37 GMT 26.04.2021
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a parliament session at the House of Commons in London, Britain March 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
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12:15 GMT 26.04.2021
A demonstrator protests against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the coronavirus outbreak. - Sputnik International, 1920
'Evil Rules In Brazil' Says Woman As She Loses Eighth Relative To COVID-19 Amid Hospital Chaos
12:07 GMT 26.04.2021
Hospital staff wait to receive COVID-19 vaccine at a government Hospital in Hyderabad, India, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Election Commission of India Caused Second COVID Wave, Madras High Court Says
11:55 GMT 26.04.2021
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 A health official draws a dose of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India - Sputnik International, 1920
AstraZeneca to Defend Itself in Court as EU Sues It for Alleged Failure to Deliver on Vaccine Deal
11:38 GMT 26.04.2021
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London, Britain, April 12, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
UK MPs Urge Boris Johnson to Publish Communications With Big Pharma Lobbyists on COVID Vaccines
09:46 GMT 26.04.2021
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
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09:34 GMT 26.04.2021
08:10 GMT 26.04.2021
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"In the context of the evaluation of the Sputnik V vaccine, European inspectors are currently carrying out Good Clinical Practice inspections in Russia and Good Manufacturing Practice inspections are planned to take place in May. These inspections are being carried out jointly with the WHO", an EMA press officer said.

07:51 GMT 26.04.2021
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured amid a vaccination campaign in Bierset, Belgium March 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
US Lawmaker Calls For Export of AstraZeneca Jab to India as Biden Extends Help to COVID-Hit Country
07:25 GMT 26.04.2021
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a tribute to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in London, Britain April 12, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Boris Johnson Denies He's Ever Made Remark About 'Letting Bodies Pile Up' Amid Pandemic
06:08 GMT 26.04.2021
Vial labelled Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine placed on displayed Sputnik V logo is seen in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Over 50% of South Koreans Support Using Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine in Country, Poll Suggests
05:58 GMT 26.04.2021
In this photograph taken on July 15, 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus patients rest on their beds at the Intensive Care Unit of the Sharda Hospital, in Greater Noida. - Sputnik International, 1920
US Offers COVID-Related Supplies, Resources to India Amid Infection Spike
05:41 GMT 26.04.2021
A passenger wears a face mask at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Vantaa, Finland on July 13, 2020 as Finnish Government eased COVID-19 pandemic in and out travel restrictions with several EU countries. - Sputnik International, 1920
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05:17 GMT 26.04.2021
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