02:52 GMT27 October 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (220)
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    The number of COVID-19 cases that have been confirmed worldwide has surpassed 30 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The global death toll from COVID-19 has topped 942,000; over 20.3 million of those who were diagnosed as having contracted the coronavirus infection have recovered.

    The United States still has the highest case count in the world, with 6,650,570 cases, including 197,244 fatalities and 2,525,573 recoveries.

    World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge expressed on Thursday concerns over the COVID-19 surge in Europe, noting that weekly cases now exceeded those reported during the March peak of the pandemic, which should serve as a "wake-up call".

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    • 23:22

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Colombia Surpasses 750,000 – Health Ministry

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Colombia has risen by 6,526 within the past 24 hours and has thus surpassed 750,000, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The total number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Colombia stands at 750,471.

      The death toll has risen by 188 to 23,850 people within the same period of time. More than 621,000 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

      A day earlier, Colombia registered 7,568 new COVID-19 cases and 187 fatalities.

    • 21:58

      Argentina Extends COVID-19 Lockdown Measures to October 11 as New Cases Surge

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The Argentine authorities have extended the country’s COVID-19 lockdown measures until 11 October, the presidential administration said on Friday, one day after a single-day record for new coronavirus disease cases was registered in the South American country.

      "The situation on the ground is showing us that COVID-19 continues to evolve. Despite this, as is the case in all countries across the world, emotional fatigue and economic needs have made people relax and not take care … Therefore, the preventive measures will be in effect throughout the country until 11 October", Argentina's presidential office, also known as the Pink House, wrote on Twitter.

      The Pink House also noted that the disease is spreading rapidly in rural areas, adding that recommendations would be issued for regional governments to tighten social distancing measures and limit travel.

      Argentina's COVID-19 death toll currently stands at 12,491, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

    • 20:53

      Canadian Public Health Agency President Stepping Down Amid COVID-19 Spike - Letter

      TORONTO(Sputnik) – The president of the Canadian Public Health Agency is stepping down from her post amid a spike of new coronavirus cases nationwide, Tina Namiesniowski said in an email to staff on Friday.

      "I am now at the point where I need to take a break. Since it makes no sense for the Agency to be without a President for any length of time given current circumstances, I feel I must step aside so someone else can step up", Namiesniowski said in the email as quoted by CTV.

      The president cited the tumultuous period that has followed since the agency first learned of the pulmonary outbreak in Wuhan.

      Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam remains in her current role.

    • 20:44

      China Welcomes Canada's Assessment of Its COVID-19 Response - Foreign Ministry

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - China appreciates the Canadian Health Minister's "objective and fair" assessment of the country's handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a press conference on Friday.

      In an interview on Sunday, Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said China alerted the World Health Organisation (WHO) "very early" to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus and provided the international community with the gene sequencing of the disease.

      "We noticed relevant reports and applaud the Canadian health minister's objective and fair remarks", Wenbin said.

      The spokesperson noted that China and Canada have cooperated during the pandemic and that Beijing welcomes all international collaborative efforts to combat the deadly disease.

      Hajdu has previously come under fire from some Canadian pundits for her trust in China's COVID-19 response amid allegations that Beijing covered up the origin and spread of the disease.

    • 20:18

      French Finance Minister Le Maire Announces Positive Test for COVID-19

      "Tonight, I tested positive for COVID-19. I have immediately self-isolated at home in accordance with the current epidemiological regulations set by the government. I have no symptoms. I will remain in quarantine for seven days. I will continue to fulfill my duties", the minister wrote on Twitter.

    • 20:17

      Moscow's Death Toll From COVID-19 Rises by 11 Over Past Day to 5,044 – Response Centre

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow has registered 11 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 5,044, the city's coronavirus response centre said in a statement on Friday.

      "Another 11 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow", the centre said.

      In the previous day, eight people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

    • 20:06

      Trump Says US Will Be Opening Borders Soon

    • 19:39

      UK Experiencing Start of COVID-19 Pandemic's Second Wave – Prime Minister

      The UK Department of Health and Social Care announced on Friday that 4,322 new positive tests for COVID-19 had been registered over the past 24 hours, the largest single-day increase since May. Referring to the outbreaks in France and Spain, Johnson said that it was "inevitable" that the UK would be hit by a second wave.

      "We are now seeing a second wave coming in. We've seen in France, we’ve seen in Spain … it's been inevitable that we would see it in this country", Johnson told reporters.

      The prime minister also hinted that the social distancing measures currently in force in the UK could be strengthened to curb the spread of the disease.

      "I don't think anybody wants to go into a second lockdown but clearly, when you look at what is happening, you’ve got to wonder whether we need to go further than the 'rule of six' that we brought in on Monday", Johnson remarked, referring to the current ban on social gatherings of more than six people.

      Over the past two weeks, the government has faced criticism over failings in the country's Test and Trace service, which has been fraught with delays. Individuals have also reportedly been instructed to travels hundreds of miles in order to receive a test.

    • 17:52

      WHO Chief Says COVID-19 Caught World 'Woefully Underprepared' for Pandemic

      MOSCOW, September 18 (Sputnik) - The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the world was seriously underprepared for a pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief said on Friday.

      "COVID-19 has shown that collectively the world was woefully underprepared. But with humility and togetherness we can plan for the long term, and invest in health and preparedness. This isn't charity, it’s an investment in our collective future," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

      The pandemic, he went on, has exposed that "whether countries are rich or poor, health systems can be completely overwhelmed and essential services can break down."

      Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, co-chair of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and former WHO chief, similarly pointed to the lack of preparedness for this pandemic.

      "There was not a lack of warning - it was not only us warning people and leaders last year, it has been warned again and again over the last 10 years since SARS, H1N1, MERS and then, of course, Ebola. And we should have been better prepared," she said.

      Brundtland added that the International Health Regulations (IHR) should also be improved to ensure greater transparency, better reporting and follow-up. She recalled that the IHR, which represent an agreement between countries to work together for global health security, date back to 2005, after SARS, and "we are now in 2020."

    • 17:33

      Erdogan Calls for New Restrictive Measure Over Spike in New COVID-19 Cases

      ANKARA, September 18 (Sputnik) - The Turkish government should take new restrictive measures as the country is seeing soaring cases of COVID-19, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

      In early September, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the COVID-19 pandemic in the country had reached its second peak. Over the past several weeks, Turkey registered record high daily numbers of new coronavirus cases and fatalities.

      "The government needs to strengthen its countermeasures to contain the spike in coronavirus cases. We must do this not at our whim, but to protect people," Erdogan told reporters.

      He added that in some regions of the country the situation has stabilized and expressed hope that vaccination would have a positive effect after the New Year.

      The cumulative total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at nearly 300,000 cases, 7,315 of which were fatal.

    • 17:23

      France Registers 13,215 COVID-19 Cases in Record Daily Rise

      PARIS, September 18 (Sputnik) - France’s COVID-19 case total has jumped by a single-day record of 13,215 on Friday, the country’s Public Health Agency said.

      The latest increase is a significant rise from the 10,593 new positive tests announced on Thursday, as the European country struggles to contain its second wave of the coronavirus disease pandemic.

      France’s COVID-19 case total is now in excess of 428,600, and more than 31,200 people have died due to complications from the disease. The single-day increase to the death toll on Friday was 123, the agency said, although the cumulative death toll of 31,249 is 154 higher than the figure provided one day ago.

    • 17:21

      Canada's Bloc Quebecois Leader Tests Positive for COVID-19

      TORONTO, September 18 (Sputnik) – The leader of Canada’s Bloc Quebecois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the party said in a statement on Friday.

      Blanchet will remain in isolation in his residence in Quebec until September 26 in accordance with guidance from Quebec’s public health authorities, the statement said.

      The parliamentarian is feeling well, the release added.

      The entire Bloc Quebecois caucus has been in self-isolation since Monday, after a staffer tested positive for the disease.

      The news comes as Canada’s number of novel coronavirus infections steadily climbs. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has said that the national spike in cases could jeopardize the country’s ability to keep the spread of the pandemic at "manageable levels."

      As of Friday, the number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada has surpassed 141,000 with 9,200 virus-related fatalities, government data revealed.

    • 17:21

      UK Gov’t Scientific Advisers Say Just 6% of Population Has Antibodies For COVID-19

      MOSCOW, September 18 (Sputnik) - Only an estimated six percent of the UK population has antibodies for the coronavirus disease, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said at a meeting earlier in September, the minutes of which were published on Friday.

      “Evidence from serology studies suggest a small proportion (around 6%) of the UK population has antibodies to COVID-19,” the minutes of the September 3 meeting read.

      SAGE scientists also stated that there is evidence that COVID-19 antibody levels fall within two to three months, and those with antibodies still pose a risk of transmitting the disease.

      It is unlikely that the UK will be able to mitigate the impact of a “significant winter resurgence” of COVID-19 given the low levels of antibodies within the population, SAGE scientists added.

      The UK government is considering reintroducing strict social distancing measures amid a surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases. On Friday, 4,322 new positive tests were registered by the Department of Health and Social Care, a significant rise from the 3,395 new cases reported one day prior.

    • 17:20

      Canada Extends ‘Non-Essential’ Travel Ban With US Until October 21

      TORONTO, September 18 (Sputnik) - Canada has extended border restrictions that limit the so-called “non-essential” travel from the United States until October 21 amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a statement on Friday.

      "We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020," Blair said via Twitter.

      While the measure has proven to be popular among polled Canadians, others, including parliamentarians, say that the restrictions go too far and are leaving entire families separated.

      The news comes amid a spike in Canadian novel coronavirus infections. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has said that the national spike in cases could jeopardize the country’s ability to keep the spread of the virus at "manageable levels.”

      As of Friday, the number of novel coronavirus cases in Canada has surpassed 141,000 with 9,200 virus-related fatalities, government data revealed.

    • 17:19

      Swedish Scientists Reveal COVID-19 Antibodies Can Remain in Patients' Blood for 4 Months

      STOCKHOLM, September 18 (Sputnik) - Antibodies for COVID-19 can remain in the blood of a person who has been cured of the disease for another four months, according to research by the Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, published on Friday.

      "In the spring, we took blood samples from 2,149 hospital employees, coronavirus antibodies were detected among 19 percent. Right now, we have ended the second phase of the study, samples for which were taken from 92 percent of the participants of the research's first phase. The results have demonstrated that among those 405 people who had antibodies detected in them in the spring, 82 percent still had them four months later," the hospital said in a statement.

      Nevertheless, Charlotte Thalin, one of the research authors, told Sveriges Radio that the findings are but "a small piece of the puzzle," even though the low reinfection rate across the world may indicate that those who had the disease develop a strong immunity.

      Most of the previously published research has shown that COVID-19 antibodies disappear in 40-70 days.

    • 15:15

      Philippine President Extends State of Calamity by 1 Year Due to COVID-19

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte extended on Friday the state of calamity over COVID-19 by one year to September 2021.

      "Through Proclamation No. 1021, the State of Calamity throughout the Philippines is extended for one year effective September 13, 2020 to September 12, 2021," the document, posted by the presidential office, said.

      Initially, the authorities declared a six-month state of calamity in mid-March. According to the presidential office, despite all efforts, COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to grow. The state of calamity can be canceled earlier if the epidemiological situation improves.

      Separately, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a briefing that all cemeteries and columbaria will be closed from October 29 to November 4, when Catholics celebrate All Souls' Day. Only minors and elderly people will be allowed to visit these places.

    • 14:04

      Russian Developer of COVID Drug Areplivir Discussing Deliveries to Latin America, Africa

      Russian Developer of COVID Drug Areplivir Discussing Deliveries to Latin America, Africa

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian pharmaceutical company Promomed is in talks with neighbouring countries, Latin America, and Africa to supply them with Areplivir drug that can help in the COVID-19 treatment, the director-general of the company, Andrey Mladentsev, said.
      Read more
    • 13:18

      Scotland’s Sturgeon Warns That Tougher COVID-19 Measures May Follow Amid Surge in Cases

      Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned on Friday that tougher social distancing measures could be introduced in the country over the coming days amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

      "Today I want to give the nation advanced notice that the coming days are likely to see some hard, but necessary decisions. If we want to avoid another full-scale lockdown, which all of us do, doing nothing almost certainly isn't an option," Sturgeon said at a briefing.

      On Friday, the Scottish government announced that 203 new positive tests for COVID-19 were registered over the preceding 24 hours, slightly below the 290 new cases confirmed on Thursday, which was the largest single-day increase in Scotland since May.

      A surge in new COVID-19 cases has been observed in Scotland, as well as the whole of the United Kingdom, since the start of September. Seven Scottish regions, including the city of Glasgow, are currently subject to local-level restrictions, where individuals are not permitted to travel to another household, or host members of another household at their residence.

      In the UK as a whole, the Department of Health and Social Care registered 3,395 new positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday. The country’s case total stands at 381,614.

    • 12:50

      Argentina Interested in Importing Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine

      Argentina has expressed interest in importing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus disease, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor), said on Friday.

      On Thursday, the watchdog's chief, Sergei Dankvert, who is also the co-chairman of the Russian-Argentine intergovernmental commission, held talks with Argentinian Deputy Foreign Minister Jorge Neme.

      "The Argentine side expressed interest in importing advanced medicines from Russia, as well as in considering the possibility of receiving Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 in light of the difficult epidemiological situation," the watchdog said in a statement following the videoconference.

      The inter-governmental commission also discussed the prospects for bilateral cooperation in oil production, agriculture, nuclear energy, space, the banking sector, customs and railway transport, according to the statement.

    • 12:44

      Number of New Infections in UK is Growing by 2% to 7% Every Day

    • 11:19

      UK to Impose Further COVID-19 Restrictions in Large Parts of England

    • 09:35

      Gatherings of More Than 10 People in Public Spaces to be Banned in Nice

    • 09:34

      China Leading in COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Has No Need to Steal Foreign Data

      China is leading in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 and thus Beijing does not need to steal vaccine-related data from other countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday, commenting on media reports claiming that Chinese hackers had allegedly stolen data on coronavirus vaccine development from Spain.

      "China strongly opposes and fights against all forms of cyberattacks and cybercrime, and this position is clear and unchanging. I would also like to add that China is one of the world leaders in [anti-coronavirus] vaccine research and development. We do not see any need for any illegal means to obtain a vaccine," Wang said at a briefing.

      According to the spokesman, cyberattacks are the common enemy of all countries, and China hopes that other countries will not draw so many reckless and irresponsible conclusions if they do not have any evidence.

    • 07:30

      Russia Registers 5,905 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia has registered 5,905 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (5,762 yesterday), which brings the cumulative total to 1,091,186, the country's coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,905 COVID-19 cases in 84 regions, of which 1,446 (24.5 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response centre said in a statement, adding that the total tally has reached 1,091,186.

      Moscow recorded 805 cases, St. Petersburg registered 206 cases, and the Rostov region confirmed 172 new cases. No new cases were recorded in the Nenets Autonomous Region.

      In the past 24 hours, Russia recorded 134 COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 19,195, and 5,339 recoveries, taking the total to 901,207.

      According to the public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 42 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 233,000 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring.

    • 06:31

      Russia's Health Watchdog Says 22 Stable Mutated COVID-19 Strains Identified Worldwide

      There are about 22 stable mutations in the genetic makeup of the coronavirus detected worldwide, with two of them being the most resistant, Russia's consumer rights and human welfare watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, told Sputnik on Friday, adding that there were thousands of COVID-19 genetic mutations.

      "The total number of mutations that are collectively identified in the sequenced genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus amounts to many thousands, but only a few of them have been fixed and are stably inherited. Currently, there are about 22 such single mutations. It should be noted that these mutations have taken place in January - March 2020, and after that, there were no detected mutations in the genome of the virus," Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

      The coronavirus genome sequence analysis shows that the most stable alteration is the emergence of two single mutations, found in more than 93 percent of the studied samples.

      The first mutated strains were detected at the end of January in China, then in Australia, and at the end of February, they were found in most countries of Western Europe, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Morocco and Senegal, the watchdog noted.

      About 99 percent of the tested samples in Russia have these two mutated strains, Rospotrebnadzor added.

    • 06:13

      Work-From-Home Highly Recommended, French Minister Says

      "It remains a practice that is highly recommended," French employment minister Elisabeth Borne said.

    • 05:59

      China Testing 11 COVID-19 Vaccines, 4 Undergoing Phase 3 Trials

      A boy looks at Sinovac Biotech LTD's vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020.

      China Testing 11 COVID-19 Vaccines, 4 Undergoing Phase 3 Trials, Science Minister Says

      BEIJING (Sputnik) - China is conducting clinical trials of 11 vaccines against the coronavirus disease, four of which are in phase 3, the country's Science and Technology Minister Wang Zhigang said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 05:06

      COVID-19 May Become Seasonal Disease

      The decrease in the mortality rate of COVID-19 from 7.2 to 3.2 percent as well as the increasing transmissibility of the disease show that the coronavirus is adapting to the human population and may become a seasonal illness, the Russian consumer watchdog (Rospotrebnadzor) told Sputnik.

      “The witnessed increase in the transmissibility potential amid the sign of the decreasing virulence may be the main form of the coronavirus' adaption to the human population and the trend is likely to continue in the future in the form of the SARS-CoV-2 integration in the structure of the seasonal acute respiratory viral infections," Rospotrebnadzor's press service said.

    • 04:45

      Czech Republic Reports Rise in COVID-19 Cases, Exceeding 3,000 Daily Cases for First Time

      The increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic over the past day was equivalent to the entire toll of cases detected in March, the Czech Ministry of Health said on Friday.

      "The number of new daily coronavirus cases has for the first time surpassed 3,000 and reached 3,130. The number of active cases is 20,289, including 413 hospitalized patients, including 91 in serious condition," the ministry said.

      The Czech Republic reported its first coronavirus cases on March 1 and by the end of the month the cumulative toll grew to 3,002 cases.

      As of Friday, the overall number of coronavirus cases confirmed by the Czech health authorities has reached 44,155, including 489 fatalities and 23,377 recoveries. The capital of Prague remains the country's worst outbreak, with 191 cases per 100,000 population registered in the past seven days.

      In the country with a population of nearly 11 million people, a total of 1.1 million tests have been conducted so far.

    • 04:41

      India Records Over 90,000 New COVID-19 Cases for 3rd Day in Row

      India has confirmed 97,894 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours marking the daily increase of more than 90,000 cases for the third day in a row, with the total number of those infected having reached 5,214,677, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 84,372 people, with 1,174 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 4.11 million people have recovered in India since the start of the epidemic.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States with more than 6.67 million COVID-19 patients.

      A day earlier, India registered 97,894 new coronavirus cases and 1,132 fatalities.

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