MADRID (Sputnik) - An increasing number of new coronavirus cases has prompted authorities in the Spanish region of Catalonia to introduce fresh restrictions, including a ban on outdoor eating and drinking.
The work of all catering services, restaurants, as well as home delivery must now end no later than 12.30 a.m., according to the Generalitat de Catalunya. Gatherings of more than 10 people will also be banned. It is recommended that public beaches and parks are closed at night.
The set of new rules needs to be approved by the Catalan High Court of Justice before it comes into force.
Spain has been witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases among younger people who have not yet been vaccinated. As of Friday, the country logged more than 150,000 cases of infection over the past two weeks alone. The total tally stands at 3.94 million with a death toll of 81,003.
Catalonia has registered 5,500 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to over 57,000.
QUITO (Sputnik) - The Delta coronavirus variant was found in Ecuador, Health Minister Ximena Garzon-Villalba said on Monday.
"The government has always undertaken preventive measures against any virus variant, as the WHO requires. Unfortunately, the Delta variant broke into the country's territory," the minister said.
The country has registered 10 cases of the new strain so far, the minister specified.
The Delta coronavirus strain, which is more contagious and resistant to human immunity than others, was first registered in India. It is reportedly becoming the dominant one in the world and provoking new waves of infection.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company said on Monday that it has been in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administraton (FDA) the cases of a neurological disorder reported after vaccinating against the novel coronavirus.
“We have been in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators about rare cases of the neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, that have been reported following vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine,” the company said in a statement.
Johnson & Johnson emphasized that the chances of the side-effect occurring after inoculation is very low.
The company’s single-shot vaccine against the coronavirus is one of three approved for use in the United States.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - India's Dr. Reddy's drug manufacturer said on Monday that it would promote the entry of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine into India’s market.
"Dr. Reddy’s will strengthen the commercial roll-out of Sputnik V in the coming weeks. Neither the ongoing soft commercial launch nor work towards its ramp-up in India have been put on hold," the statement said.
Over 50 Indian cities, including Mumbai, the National Capital Territory of Delhi, made a soft launch of Sputnik V, the company added.
India approved the vaccine in April. The country will be able to produce over 850 million vaccine doses annually in compliance with agreements between Russia and Indian manufacturers. In May, Dr. Reddy's announced that the first vaccine dose against the coronavirus had been administered in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, took the second shot of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Inquirer news outlet reported citing the presidential spokesperson.
"I confirm that [Duterte] had his second dose of Sinopharm tonight before his meeting with select members of the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force]," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was quoted as saying.
In line with WHO-recommended intervals of three to four weeks, Duterte received a second dose of Sinopharm vaccine 70 days after taking the first shot on May 3.
Frustrated by the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in his country, currently at 3.2% of the entire population, the president reportedly threatened people who refuse to get vaccinated with jail or an injection of Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug widely used to treat animals and touted as an alternative treatment for COVID-19, though cautioned against by the WHO.
So far, the Philippines has approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, as well as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, Bharat Biotech, and Moderna in its vaccination campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Chinese-produced Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in June for emergency use.
GENEVA (Sputnik) - The COVAX Facility, which helps low to middle income countries gain access to vaccines, will immediately receive 110 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from the Chinese companies Sinopharm and Sinovac, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) said on Monday.
"Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced today that it had signed advance purchase agreements (APAs) with Sinopharm for its 'BBIBP-CorV' inactivated virus vaccine against COVID-19 as well as with Sinovac for its inactivated virus vaccine against COVID-19, 'CoronaVac.' The agreements, which come at a time when the Delta variant is posing a rising risk to health systems, will begin to make 110 million doses immediately available to participants of the COVAX Facility, with options for additional doses," GAVI said in a statement.
Potential future supplies by Sinovac will amount to 380 million doses from July 2021 till mid-summer 2022. Sinopharm could provide a possible total of 170 million doses over the same period.
The World Health Organization authorized the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use early in May and CoronaVac, produced by Sinovac, early in June.
The COVAX Facility is a global initiative, administered by GAVI and responsible for development, production and distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines worldwide. Its portfolio currently consists of 11 vaccines and vaccine candidates, including AstraZeneca/Oxford, Novavax and Pfizer-BioNTech.
ATHENS (Sputnik) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday included new categories of citizens, namely healthcare workers and nursing home staff, to the list of those obligated to be vaccination against the coronavirus due to a surge in COVID-19 infections.
"After 18 months of the first pandemic strike in our country vaccines are available to every citizen and everywhere across Greece. Their safety and efficacy have already been proven by billions of doses, administered across the globe. Operation Freedom [vaccination of all residents over 18 in 19 Greek islands to revive tourism] is expanding, getting closer to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of our adult population during summer," Mitsotakis said in a speech broadcast by Greek ERT public television.
He noted, however, success in the fight against the pandemic could be hindered by the Delta coronavirus variant, known to be the most transmissible and contagious, and the reluctance of some citizens to be vaccinated.
In this regard, the vaccination has been made mandatory for employees of nursing homes, as they host people of the most vulnerable age groups, the prime minister said, adding that those who choose not to be vaccinated will be suspended from work starting August 16.
The second category of Greeks obliged to be vaccinated are medical workers of both public and private sectors, he went on, adding that the measure comes into effect on September 1. For their part, the military has special conditions for vaccination, according to Mitsotakis.
"From now on, regular servicemen and conscripts will have the opportunity, as well as incentives, to get vaccinated in their units. The former can do it when they want to, and the latter when they are drafted," he said.
Besides that, starting this Friday and through late August all indoor entertainment facilities, including theaters, cinemas, bars, and nightclubs, will be reserved for vaccinated citizens only, the prime minister said, adding that compliance with the measure will be monitored over a digital app containing information about whether or not the individual has been vaccinated.
At the same time, those who have a right not to be vaccinated will not force the country back into restrictions, Mitsotakis added.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The French government has prepared a draft law on mandatory vaccination of medical personnel and is due on Tuesday to submit it to the State Council, an advisory body to the cabinet on legislative matters, media reported on Monday.
The move comes in response to concerns about the fourth wave of the coronavirus in the country, which is inevitable, according to some experts. In particular, Health Minister Olivier Veran has anticipated the new outbreak to weigh on France as early as the end of July, as the Delta variant was progressing across the country and amounting to 50% of the total number of COVID-19 cases as of last week.
The French BFMTV broadcaster reported, citing sources, that besides compulsory vaccinations for medical workers, the bill also stipulates the extension of the use of the so-called health pass, providing COVID-19-related information about its holder, including vaccination, antibody and PCR tests, data on whether the holder had COVID-19 and when, and other data. The pass is used to control the attendance of mass events in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading.
To date, France has confirmed more than 5.8 million coronavirus cases and over 111,000 related fatalities.
Argentina has struck a contract to purchase 20 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry reported.
"Argentina signed an agreement with the Moderna Inc company for 20 million COVID-19 vaccines," the ministry said on Twitter late on Sunday.
The batch is scheduled to arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2022.
For Argentina, it is the first contract for a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Latin American country is set to receive another 733,000 AstraZeneca doses, 768,000 doses of Sinopharm, and 550,000 doses of the Sputnik V component 2 later on Monday.
Over 4.6 million COVID-19 cases have been logged in Argentina, including 8,850 detected in the past 24 hours. The death toll has risen to 98,781, by 281 in the given period.
The country has vaccinated some 19.8 million people with at least one COVID-19 shot, with 5 million of them fully immunized.
Russia registered 25,140 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the tally to over 5,808,473, the federal response centre said on Monday.
"Over the past day, 25,140 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 2,723 cases (10.8%) without clinical symptoms," the statement said, adding that the rate of increase was 0.43%.
Moscow confirmed 5,403 daily infections. The Russian capital was followed by the Moscow region with 2,566 cases and St. Petersburg with 2,029 cases.
The response centre reported 710 new deaths linked to the coronavirus, raising the country's total death toll to 143,712.
In the same 24 hours, 16,429 COVID-19 were discharged from hospitals across the country, bringing the total to 5,216,648.