20:40 GMT21 September 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (160)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection is nearly 892,000; over 27.3 million cases of infection have been detected, and over 18.3 million of those patients have recovered, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The number of cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States has surpassed 6.3 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    The US case tally stands at 6,300,622, with 189,208 deaths, the university said.

    A total of 2,333,551 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the country, it said.

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    • 02:15

      Israeli Health Minister Goes Into Isolation After Possible Contact With COVID-19 Patient

      TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and a number of other ministry officials went into self-isolation after one of the Magen Israel coronavirus response center staff was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

      "I am going into quarantine and hope the test result is negative," Edelstein wrote on Twitter.

      In addition, according to the Health Ministry, the ministry's Director General Prof. Hezi Levi, coronavirus response coordinator Prof. Ronni Gamzu and a number of other officials are also going into self-isolation.

      The ministry noted that Gamzu and other staff had been wearing masks and observed safety precautions.

    • 01:54

      Brazil to Start Mass Vaccination Against COVID-19 in January 2021, Acting Health Minister Says

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Brazil’s acting Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said mass vaccination of the population against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would begin in January 2021.

      "We are signing contracts with vaccine manufacturers, it is expected that deliveries will begin in January; in January next year, we will begin mass vaccination," Pazuello said as quoted by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

      The candidate vaccine in Brazil is from the AstraZeneca laboratory. A total of 100.4 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be initially supplied to the country.

      In early September, the authorities of the Brazilian state of Parana, on the basis of a bilateral agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), announced that they would begin testing the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik-V in October on 10,000 volunteer medical workers. The agreement with the RDIF includes, in addition to the third phase of clinical trials, the production and distribution of the vaccine in Brazil.

      The Russian Health Ministry earlier registered the world's first vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19, developed by the Gamaleya Center and produced jointly with the RDIF. RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said the fund had received applications from over 20 countries for the purchase of a billion doses of the Russian coronavirus vaccine. He said Russia had agreed on the production of the vaccine in five countries.

    • 18:55

      Dr. Fauci Says ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ of Obtaining Safe Coronavirus Vaccine by December

      WASHINGTON, September 8 (Sputnik) - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday he was “cautiously optimistic” that a safe and effective vaccine for the novel strain of the coronavirus will be available by the end of 2020.

      "I have been projecting ... that by the end of the year, by November December, we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci told a live-streamed event. “I feel cautiously optimistic that we will, given the preliminary data that we've seen."

      The quest for a safe and effective vaccine has become a politically-charged issue in the United States - and the world -  with President Donald Trump hinting there will be one approved vaccine before he stands for reelection on November 3.

      The Trump administration said it is working with six trial vaccines for the novel strain of the coronavirus and three have entered the key Phase 3 trial of public testing.

      Critics, including numerous medical professionals, have charged that the new vaccine may not be safe given that it is completely experimental, may have DNA-changing technologies and may be produced through a process that is also used to produce genetically modified organisms. 

    • 17:14

      French Prime Minister Tests Negative for COVID-19, Report Says

      French Prime Minister Jean Castex has tested negative for the COVID-19, Castex's Matignon department said, as quoted by BFM TV. 

    • 15:11

      Britain Reports 2,420 New Covid Cases, N Ireland Faces Data Delay

    • 14:46

      EU Parliament to Hold Session in Brussels Instead of Strasbourg Amid Case Spike in France, Reports Say

    • 14:35

      US Senate to Vote on New COVID-19 Relief Plan as Soon as This Week

    • 14:19

      Scotland's Sturgeon Convinced Enough Tests Are Being Performed Despite Reports of Drop in Their Number

      "Over recent days Scotland has proportionately been doing more tests than other parts of the UK. We are testing proportionally way above our population share or have been on certain days above our population share in a UK sense”, the First Minister said.

    • 13:16

      EU's Innovation Institute Awards Over $70Mln to 207 Projects Aimed at Tackling COVID-19

      The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has allocated 60 million euros ($70.8 million) to 207 ground-breaking innovation projects and ventures from over 30 countries as part of the EU's measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release by the EIT on Tuesday.

      "As part of the EU’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology is proud to announce the EIT Crisis Response Initiative results: EUR 60 million awarded to 207 innovation projects and ventures from 32 countries," the press release said.

      In particular, 62 new innovation projects by partners from 25 countries aim at developing solutions to directly resolve challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, while 145 ventures — start-ups, scale-ups, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises — from 23 countries that have been enormously impacted by COVID-19 will receive investment from the "Venture Support Instrument."

      "The selected innovations provide immediate solutions within the EIT’s key focus areas, from health and digitisation to food and urban mobility, to meet the wide array of challenges posed by the crisis," the press release said.

      All EIT Crisis Response activities on the projects' implementations and support for the ventures will be completed by the end of 2020, the institute added.

    • 12:57

      Japanese Firm Develops Robot Able to Kill COVID-19 With Ultra-Violet Rays

      The Tokyo-based Farmroid company has developed a robot that can kill the coronavirus on surfaces by emitting strong ultra-violet (UV) rays, media reported on Tuesday.

      According to the NHK broadcaster, the company developed the robot together with the local authorities in the Itabashi ward, a municipality in northern Tokyo, and Nihon University Itabashi Hospital.

      The robot has eight lamps and emits UV rays onto floors and walls. The broadcaster reported, citing researcher Aida Yoko, that the robot is able to reduce COVID-19 to undetectable levels after emitting UV rays for a certain period of time.

      NHK also said, citing the manufacturer, that the robot should be operated remotely as UV rays can be harmful to humans.

      The robot is already in use in the university and several and other facilities, including shopping malls.

    • 12:56

      UK NHS Apologizes for Not Coping With Processing COVID-19 Tests as Labs Overburdened

      The UK National Health Service's (NHS) laboratories are not coping with processing COVID-19 tests, as they have reached "the critical pinch-point," Sarah-Jane Marsh, the director of testing at NHS Test and Trace, said on Tuesday, offering her apologies for the situation.

      Over the recent days, UK citizens in England reportedly complained of being directed hundreds of miles away from areas of their residence to take COVID-19 tests, as there had been no appointments available at the local test centers and no home test kits.

      "Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present. All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, its our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point. We are doing all we can to expand quickly," Marsh wrote on Twitter.

      The health official also said that some additional NHS, private and university laboratories would immediately open, while the use of non-laboratory based tests would be expanded.

      "The Testing Team work on this 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. We recognise the country is depending on us," Marsh added.

      The situation is aggravated by the recent reopening of educational institutions, as any student or teacher with coronavirus-like symptoms should be tested for the disease.

      For two days in a row, the daily increment in the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK is nearly 3,000, marking the highest numbers of infections per day since 22 May.

    • 12:19

      Merkel Hopes Germany to Continue Keeping COVID-19 Under Control

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope that the national health system will be able to further keep the coronavirus pandemic in the country under control.

      "I believe that we have so far managed to keep the infectious situation in the country under control, and I hope that we will continue this way. This is not something self-evident, we see that in some countries the situation is much more serious," Merkel said at a meeting with public health authorities.

      In total, 252,298 people have been infected with coronavirus in Germany since the beginning of the pandemic, while 9,329 patients with COVID-19 have died. The dynamics in recent weeks has remained at a higher level than in the period after overcoming the first wave of the pandemic from May-July. The daily number of new confirmed cases of the infection stands at around 1,000 in recent weeks, ranging from 700 to 1,500.

    • 08:46

      Georgia Registers Record Number of Daily COVID-19 Cases, Tally Climbs to 1,729

      Georgia has registered a record 45 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 1,729, the governmental’s website monitoring the spread of COVID-19 showed on Tuesday.

      The previous record of 42 cases was detected in mid-April.

      Georgia is seeing a rise in the coronavirus infection rate in September, while in late August the country was registering less than 10 cases a day on average. The authorities have said that nearly half of all new cases are linked to the southwestern Adjara region, where many resort towns are located, including Batumi.

      "Confirmed coronavirus cases - 1728. Recovered - 1321. Fatal outcome - 19," the government said.

      The number of recoveries increased by six over the given period, while the death toll remained unchanged. Over 5,800 people, among them Georgians who returned from abroad and close contacts of coronavirus-positive patients, are currently under quarantine in state facilities.

    • 07:57

      South Korea Aims to Mass-Produce COVID-19 Antibody Treatment Later This Month

      South Korea is expected to mass-produce commercial COVID-19 antibody-based treatment later in September, the Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Kwon Jun-wook, the deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

      The country is currently analyzing the results of phase 1 clinical trial of the antibody-based treatment, which was approved by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on 17 July, and reviewing the phase 2, the media outlet added.

      As for blood plasma-based treatment, the health authorities skipped phase one of clinical trials, as the therapy itself is well-known and considered to be safe. The country will start producing the blood plasma material for the phase 2 trial on Tuesday, while the supply of the substance will be completed in mid-October, the news agency noted.

      In total, clinical trials for 14 coronavirus treatments and two vaccines are currently underway in South Korea.

    • 07:35

      Russia Records 5,099 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia has registered 5,099 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (5,185 yesterday), which brings the cumulative total to 1,035,789, the country's coronavirus response centre said on Tuesday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,099 COVID-19 cases in 83 regions, of which 1,184 (23.2 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response centre said in a statement, adding that the total count has reached 1,035,789.

      Moscow recorded 695 cases, St. Petersburg registered 210 cases, and the Rostov region confirmed 147 new cases. No new cases were recorded in the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Nenets Autonomous Region.

      In the past 24 hours, Russia recorded 122 COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 17,993, and 6,772 recoveries, taking the total to 850,049.

      According to the public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 38.9 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 205,000 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring.

    • 07:14

      Xi Bestows Chinese State Awards to Scientists Contributing to COVID-19 Response

      Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday awarded state honors to four scientists for their contribution to the country’s fight against the coronavirus disease, during a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

      The Medal of the Republic, the country’s highest state award, was bestowed on Zhong Nanshan, a renowned epidemiologist and respiratory disease expert. A member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Zhong went to Wuhan in January to fight COVID-19 at the early stages of the outbreak, and one of the first Chinese officials who warned against travel to Wuhan and called for quarantining all coronavirus-positive people. In September, Zhong was selected as a member of an independent panel appointed by the World Health Organization to review the global COVID-19 response.

      The honorary title of the People's Hero was conferred on Zhang Boli, also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a dean at Tianjin University of Science and Technology, who worked on research of the coronavirus treatment by combining Western medicine and Chinese traditional medicine.

      The People's Hero title was also conferred on Zhang Dingyu, the head of the Jinyintan hospital in Wuhan, and Chen Wei, a military medical scientist who contributed to the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

    • 06:59

      Japan Earmarks $6.3Bln for Purchase of 280Mln Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

      The Japanese government announced on Tuesday the decision to allocate 671.4 billion yen ($6.3 billion) to secure the purchase of 280 million doses vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

      Following a cabinet meeting, Japan has decided to buy 120 million doses of a vaccine being developed by the US pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, and another 120 million doses from the UK’s AstraZeneca. In addition, negotiations are underway to purchase another batch of 40 million doses from the US company Moderna. All the three are conducting phase three clinical trials.

      The funds will be allocated from the so-called emergency budget reserves of 11.5 trillion yen, included in two packages of additional economic measures to combat the coronavirus.

      Japanese Health Minister Kato Katsunobu said during a press conference that "once the negotiations are over, we will try to provide everyone with the vaccine by the first half of next year."

      Japan has so far confirmed 71,856 COVID-19 cases and 1,363 related fatalities, according to the World Health Organization's data.

    • 05:51

      Pandemic Situation in Country is 'Worrying', French Health Minister Says

    • 05:17

      Half of Children Who Have Gone Through COVID-19 Had Mild Form of Disease

      Nearly 50,000 children went through the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Russia in the first six months of 2020, half of them had a mild form of the disease, 32 percent were asymptomatic, and only 0.2 percent had a severe form, Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said.

      In the first half of 2020, a total of 47,712 cases of COVID-19 in children were registered in Russia, which amounted to 8.4 percent of the total number of cases, Rospotrebnadzor said.

      "A retrospective analysis of all cases of confirmed COVID-19 in children during this period in the Russian Federation showed that the majority of them (49.9%) had a mild form of the novel coronavirus infection," it said.

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