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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (217)
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    As the global death toll from COVID-19 approaches 1 million people, numerous countries have reinstated severe restrictions and travel bans in a bid to stop new outbreaks of the disease.

    The pandemic has claimed almost 960,000 lives so far, while the number of those who have been infected with the virus has reached over 31 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The most affected countries are the US (6.8 mln infected, over 200,000 deceased), India (5.4 million cases, with the death toll surpassing 86,000), and Brazil (4.5 million cases, over 136,000 fatalities).

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    • 00:29

      COVAX Has Advance Market Commitment For Up to 850Mln Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines, Gavi CEO Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The COVAX Facility, a COVID-19 vaccine initiative being coordinated by Gavi, already has an advance market commitment (AMC) for as many as 850 million doses of safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease that will be distributed throughout lower-income countries, the CEO of Gavi, Dr. Seth Berkley, said on Monday.

      “But for the AMC [Advance Market Commitment], of course, we already have an engagement going on that. We have now signed for up to 850 million doses of vaccines as part of the AMC … We will be looking forward during this next period to supplement those agreements that have already been made,” Berkley said during the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 briefing.

      The Gavi CEO added that the facility had a target of acquiring 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 for distribution to lower-income countries.

      A further 38 higher-income countries are expected to join the COVAX Facility in the coming days, Berkley also said on Monday, adding that further investment will allow the initiative to meet a target of ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2021.

      Gavi, the WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations are cooperating to manage the COVAX Facility, which aims to guarantee free and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries in the world.

    • 00:15

      Finland Cancels Large-Scale Military Exercises in 2021 Due to COVID-19 Restrictions

      HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Finland has canceled large-scale military drills Arctic Lock planned for May-June 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, the country's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

      About 20,000 military personnel from 13 countries, as well as observes from the European Union and NATO were expected to take part in the drills.

      "Planning for the Arctic Lock 21 drills will be suspended and replaced by the national defense force exercises in 2021," the statement said.

      According to the ministry, some 15,000 military will take part in the national defense force exercises.

      The Defense Ministry added that Finland would explore the possibility of organizing major international exercises later this year.

    • 00:09

      US Economic Indicators Show 'Marked Improvement' Since COVID-19 Outbreak - Powell

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Many US economic indicators have improved markedly since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March, but more work is needed to lift the economy and the Federal Reserve is determined to do whatever it takes to support the recovery, Chairman Jay Powell said in a speech prepared for delivery to Congress.

      "Economic activity has picked up from its depressed second-quarter level, when much of the economy was shut down to stem the spread of the virus. Many economic indicators show marked improvement," Powell said in his remarks to be delivered at the three-day House hearing for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act beginning Tuesday.

      Powell said household spending appears to have recovered about three-fourths of its earlier decline, likely owing in part to federal stimulus payments and expanded unemployment benefits, while the housing sector has rebounded.

      Fixed investment for business has also shown signs of improvement and the labor market regained roughly half of the 22 million payroll jobs lost in March and April, Powell said.

      However, employment and overall economic activity remain well below their pre-pandemic levels and the path ahead continued to be highly uncertain, Powell said.

      "The downturn has not fallen equally on all Americans; those least able to bear the burden have been the most affected," he said. "This reversal of economic fortune has upended many lives and created great uncertainty about the future."

      The Federal Reserve remains committed to using its tools to do what it can for as long as it takes to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible as well as to limit lasting damage to the economy, Powell said.

    • 22:18

      South Korean President Calls for Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine for All Countries

      SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in in his video message to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Monday called for fair access to COVID-19 vaccine for all countries and stated that international cooperation was needed to overcome the negative impact of the pandemic.

      Moon addressed the UNGA on behalf of MIKTA group of countries comprising Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia. The president said that these countries would make every effort together with the United Nations to overcome COVID-19 effects.

      "First, we should guarantee equitable access to vaccines and therapeutics. Through global funding, we should facilitate advance purchase of sufficient doses of vaccines for international organizations to ensure that developing countries can also share in the benefits," Moon said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency.

      Moon noted that South Korea participated in international associations for the development of COVID-19 vaccines and would continue to support their projects. He added that overcoming the consequences of the pandemic also required cooperation in the field of economic recovery, stating that South Korea had already called on the international community to guarantee unhindered cross-border movement for representatives of the business community.

      The 75th session of the General Assembly started on 15 September. The high-level week will run from Monday until 29 September. The UNGA is held mostly virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • 18:04

      Catalan Authorities Recommend Residents to Avoid Traveling to Madrid Over COVID-19

      "The Catalan government does not recommend travelling to Madrid in this situation ... except for exceptional cases and if all precautions are taken", Catalan President Quim Torra said as aired by 24 Horas broadcaster.

      According to Torra, the government has agreed with Renfe railway company and Spanish airport operator Aena to carry out temperature checks at train stations and airports for those arriving from Madrid.

      He warned that the number of infections in Catalonia could rise this week, and announced the possibility of closing parks if it happens.

      Spain has confirmed over 640,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, including over 125,000 cases over the past two weeks. A total of 30,500 patients have died, including 432 over the past week.

    • 17:12

      France's COVID-19 Toll Rises by 5,298 Over 24 Hours, Health Authorities Say

    • 17:06

      Gavi CEO Says COVAX Facility Ready to Sign Agreements With COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturers

      "As of today, 64 higher-income countries, including 29 economies operating as Team Europe, have submitted legally-binding commitments to join the COVAX Facility. We expect as many as 38 more countries to join in the coming days, many of whom have already publicly stated their intent to do so", the CEO of the vaccine alliance, Dr Seth Berkley, said at a World Health Organisation (WHO) briefing.

      The Gavi CEO added that the addition of dozens of new countries to the programme will give the COVAX Facility the necessary funds to begin striking agreements with vaccine manufacturers.

      "This is critically important, as it means that when the funds are deposited, we can begin the process of signing formal agreements with vaccine manufacturers and developers, which are partners in the COVAX effort, to secure the doses needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021", Berkley remarked.

      According to Berkley, the COVAX Facility will give 92 lower-income countries the necessary access to vaccines against COVID-19.

      The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the WHO, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and aims to guarantee free and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries in the world.

    • 17:05

      Chances of Creating Working COVID-19 Vaccine Depend on Number of Candidates Produced, WHO Says

      "We have no guarantee that any single vaccine now in development will work. The more candidates we test, the higher the chance we will have a safe and efficacious vaccine. Almost 200 vaccines for COVID-19 are currently in clinical and pre-clinical testing. The history of vaccine development tells us that some will fail and some will succeed", The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a briefing on Monday.

      According to him, the so-called COVAX Facility, which was established as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator under the WHO auspices to bring together vaccine developers from different countries in a common quest for a safe COVID-19 vaccine, will help bring the pandemic under control, save lives and accelerate economic growth.

    • 17:04

      US Blockade, COVID-19 Pandemic Negatively Affecting Cuba-Russia Trade, Cuban Official Says

      "This visit is taking place at a time when Cuba faces difficult economic conditions for two main reasons: the tightening of the financial, trade, and economic blockade of Cuba by the United States, and against the backdrop of a pandemic … These two factors are negatively impacting our economy, which, of course, impacts our bilateral economic ties", Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, the vice president of Cuba’s Council of Ministers said during a meeting with Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the Russian parliament's upper chamber.

      The vice president of the Council of Ministers said that Cuba was having difficulty meeting its economic obligations, although Havana was hopeful that the situation would improve and trade flows with Moscow would increase.

    • 15:23

      UK's COVID-19 Toll Rises by 4,368, Health Authorities Say

    • 15:12

      Military to Help Fight COVID-19 Pandemic in Spain's Madrid Community, Prime Minister Says

      "Madrid needs a special plan due to its peculiarities. The government can provide a lot in this fight — additional mass testing tools, disinfectants, logistical facilities, medical service reinforcement resources, legal resources if necessary, police resources and whatever the Madrid community needs ... These resources include the military, doctors, police officers, which will be determined during the first meeting of the COVID-19 working group, which will take place tonight", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at a joint press conference.

      Meanwhile, Diaz Ayuso noted that the military would provide assistance both in checking the implementation of sanitary measures in the city, as well as disinfecting.

    • 15:10

      France's Lyon Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions as Infection Cases Continue to Rise

      The French region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, where the city of Lyon is located, announced a set of tighter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

      According to a list of updated rules voiced at a news conference by the region’s prefect, Pascal Mailhos, events will be limited to 1,000 people, down from the nationwide limit of 5,000, and any gatherings of 10 or more people must be reported to the prefecture ahead of time.

      The sale and consumption of alcohol outdoors will be prohibited from 8 p.m. and a new set of behaviours will be imposed on people dining out.

      A host of large events have been cancelled, including the annual Foire de Lyon trade fair.

      Mailhos said the measures were intended to avoid a second lockdown at all costs, as that may have serious economic, social and cultural repercussions.

    • 15:03

      Italy to Introduce Compulsory COVID-19 Tests for Arrivals From Several French Regions

      "I have signed a new decree which states that mandatory tests for COVID-19, either molecular or antigen, will be required for arrivals from Paris and other regions of France, where there is a high rate of infection", Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza was quoted as saying in a Ministry of Health statement.

      The mandatory testing will apply to arrivals from seven French regions, including the southern region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, which includes the cities of Marseille and Nice.

      Speranza noted that the ongoing epidemiological situation in Europe, which has seen many countries experience a rapid rise in new cases since the start of September, was concerning.

      "Today, the situation in Italy is better than in other countries, but a great deal of caution is still needed, so as to not devalue the sacrifices made to date", the health minister said.

    • 15:01

      Czech Republic Ranks 2nd in EU in Terms of New COVID-19 Cases Per 100,000, EU Agency Says

      The Czech Republic currently ranks second among EU countries by the 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, reaching 198 on Monday, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

      According to the ECDC, on Monday, the Czech Republic replaced France, where the 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people currently stands at 192.5, and became the second to Spain, where this number is 300.5.

      Next to France come Luxembourg (147.9), Malta (120.4), Belgium (116.1), the Netherlands (109.8), Hungary (107.2) and Austria (105.7).

      Authorities in many countries use this indicator when issuing recommendations for foreign trips of their citizens, as well as when making decisions on border control.

      According to the Czech Health Ministry, a total of 49,290 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country since the start of the pandemic. As many as 24,755 patients have recovered, while 503 died of the disease. The Czech Republic now has 24,032 active cases, with 503 patients currently in hospitals.

    • 13:54

      Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Russia Plans Getting Vaccinated With Sputnik V

      A scientist dilutes samples during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory of BIOCAD biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 11, 2020

      Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Russia Plans Getting Vaccinated With Sputnik V

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Moscow Meegahalande Durage Lamawansa said on Monday he planned getting inoculated with Russia's vaccine against COVID-19, dubbed Sputnik V, in the near future.
      Read more
    • 13:13

      French City of Lyon Tightens Anti-COVID Measure Amid Spike in New Cases

    • 12:33

      Netizens Enraged After Piers Morgan Says Christmas Should Be Cancelled Over Spike in COVID-19 Cases

      Piers Morgan arrives at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif

      Netizens Enraged After Piers Morgan Says Christmas Should Be Cancelled Over Spike in COVID-19 Cases

      The development comes as the United Kingdom has recently seen a drastic increase in coronavirus cases. 3,899 new infections were reported on 20 September and 18 people died from the disease. England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty previously warned that Britain is “at a critical point" in the pandemic.
      Read more
    • 11:25

      Top UK Medic Urges Britons to Follow Strict Coronavirus Guidelines Amid Surging Death Toll

      "We are seeing a rate of increase across the great majority of the country", government advisor Chris Whitty said, urging the public to respect stricter guidelines on social distancing. "This is not someone else's problem. It's all of our problem".

    • 11:02

      WHO Thanks Russia for Developing 'Safe and Effective Sputnik V Vaccine', Regional Head Says

      In this handout photo taken on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, and provided by Russian Direct Investment Fund, a new vaccine is on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia

      WHO Thanks Russia for Developing 'Safe and Effective Sputnik V Vaccine', Regional Head Says

      The first officially registered vaccine against COVID-19, developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, is now undergoing post-registration trials involving around 42,000 people in Russia and around the world.
      Read more
    • 10:52

      First Russian Volunteers Inoculated With China's COVID-19 Vaccine - Petrovax

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian pharmaceutical company Petrovax launched phase 3 clinical trials of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CanSino Biologics Ad5-nCoV, on the first group of Russian volunteers in Moscow, the company said on Monday.

      "Petrovax, CanSino Biologics Inc. and the contract research organisation OCT Clinical have launched vaccinations of the first volunteers in Moscow treatment centres," the company said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

      According to the company, the first volunteers are doing well.

      "None of them showed any undesirable effects. According to clinical regulations, study participants will be under direct supervision during the first 28 days after vaccination and will have to undergo four interim face-to-face examinations," Petrovax underlined.

      According to the company's forecast, during this period, the vaccinated participants will develop a humoral and cellular immune response to COVID-19.

      Petrovax said it would continue to recruit volunteers. Over 3,000 applications have been received so far.

      The Russian company first shared with Sputnik its plans to carry out late-stage clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCoV, in mid-August.

    • 10:35

      Coronavirus is a 6-Month Problem for UK During Cold Seasons, Top Medic Stresses

      "We should see this as a six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively", Chief Medical Adviser Chris Whitty said.

    • 09:51

      F1 Russian Grand Prix 2020 to Honor COVID-19 Heroes in Rossiya Segodnya's Project

      Auto racing. Formula-1. Russian Grand Prix. Free practice

      F1 Russian Grand Prix 2020 to Honor COVID-19 Heroes in Rossiya Segodnya's Project

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2020 will honor COVID-19 frontline workers on September 27 as part of the Rossiya Segodnya news agency’s "Breathe, Please" project.
      Read more
    • 09:29

      Bavaria to Tighten Mask Wearing in Public Places Over COVID-19 - Minister-President

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - The German federal state of Bavaria will tighten its requirement that people wear protective masks in public places due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, including in schools, given the epidemiological situation, Markus Soder, the state's minister president, said on Monday.

      Bavaria remains one of the worst-hit states in Germany in terms of the number of infections, with the daily increment of COVID-19 cases exceeding 50 over the recent days.

      "We want to keep schools and kindergartens functioning, we do not want an economic lockdown ... Therefore, we are talking about the mandatory wearing of masks. We must keep the mask [wearing] at schools in Munich, that is clear. This is necessary, and this also applies to the wearing of masks by teachers in primary school, not by children. We want to preserve the wearing of masks in public places where it is impossible to keep the distance between people", Soder told reporters.

      Among other measures to curb the pandemic, the official named restrictions on the sale of alcoholic drinks on the streets, stricter hygienic control over private events and the increased protection of retirement homes.

    • 09:11

      British Schools Can Be Kept Open, Health Secretary Says

      "Schools aren't where a lot of the transmission happens, it's more about people socialising", Hancock said.

      He also stressed the need to curb the virus right now, noting that the authorities will have to use "heavier measures in the future" if the situation gets out of control.

      "The more we can control the virus now and stop the spread now, the easier it's going to be to have a Christmas that's as close to normal as possible", he said during an interview on ITV. "I really hope we can get there... If this runs out of control now, we'll have to take heavier measures in the future".

    • 08:33

      Indonesia Confirms 4,176 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 08:03

      Number of COVID-19 Cases Exceeds 31Mln Worldwide - Johns Hopkins University

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The global tally of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 31 million, according to the database compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

      There are currently 31,032,045 confirmed cases worldwide. The United States, India, and Brazil have the highest numbers of cases among countries, over 6 million, 5 million, and 4 million, respectively. They are followed by Russia, which is shown to have over 1 million cases.

    • 07:31

      Russia Records 6,196 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW, September 21 (Sputnik) - Russia has registered 6,196 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (6,148 yesterday), which brings the cumulative total to 1,109,595, the country's coronavirus response centre said on Monday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 6,196 COVID-19 cases in 84 regions, of which 1,589 (25.6 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said in a statement, specifying that the cumulative toll has reached 1,109,595.

    • 07:05

      African Countries Hoping to Receive Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Against COVID-19 – IGAD

    • 06:49

      India's Taj Mahal Reopens to Visitors After 6-Month Pandemic Break - Reports

    • 06:32

      WHO Head Tedros Commends Italy's Health Care System for COVID-19 Response

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has saluted the way Italy handled its coronavirus outbreak, emphasising, in particular, the role of the country's health care system and workers.
      Tedros spoke via video link at the Italian-hosted Courtyard of Assisi event, dedicated this year to moving forward from COVID-19.

      "Italy is a shining example that with national unity, solidarity, humility & community engagement, even the most severe situation can be turned around. Its health system is truly universal & free, & this has clearly contributed to its successful fight against #COVID19," Tedros said on Twitter following the event.

      The WHO chief said he had offered his "profound condolences to #Italy as a nation & to each family that has lost a loved one due to #COVID19; & my deep respect for every nurse, doctor, paramedic, ambulance driver, hospital cleaner & everyone who put themselves at risk to serve others".

      "The forces of nationalism & isolationism threaten to tear us apart. My hope is that this defining crisis of our time will teach us all that the only way to prevail is together!" Tedros said.

    • 06:25

      Czech Health Minister Vojtech Resigns Over Criticism Over Handling of Coronavirus

    • 06:24

      Is Sweden's COVID-19 Crisis Over? Professor Says Immunity Level High Enough to Keep Disease Down

      View of Stockholm's old town rooftops from top of a building at the Riddarholmen island in Sweden´s capital

      Is Sweden's COVID-19 Crisis Over? Professor Says Immunity Level High Enough to Keep Disease Down

      Sweden, whose outlier no-lockdown herd immunity strategy has been criticised and even vilified by pundits and medical professionals, has been doing remarkably well recently, whereas other European countries are bracing themselves for a second wave of infection.
      Read more
    • 06:20

      Number of New Cases in Czech Republic Drops to 985

    • 06:15

      UK at 'Critical Point in Pandemic’, Top Epidemiologist to Warn Amid Talks on Tougher COVID Curbs

      A social distancing sign is seen amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Newcastle, Britain, September 18, 2020.

      UK at 'Critical Point in Pandemic’, Top Epidemiologist to Warn Amid Talks on Tougher COVID Curbs

      Whitehall is reportedly getting ready for a fresh round of healthcare restrictions, as British authorities grapple with a new spike in the rate of infections.
      Read more
    • 05:38

      Number of Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in India Surpasses 5.48 Million

    • 05:25

      New Zealand Continues With Planned Coronavirus Restriction Easing - Prime Minister

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Starting from late Monday, New Zealand is easing coronavirus restrictions from alert level 2 to level 1, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

      New Zealand will remain at level 2 of restrictions until 11:59 p.m. local time (11:59 GMT) on Monday, after that it will move to alert level 1. Auckland will remain at alert level 2.5 until Wednesday night, after that it should move to level 2.

      "Essentially Auckland needs more time ... there is still a need in Auckland for a cautious approach," Ardern said on Monday, as quoted by The New Zealand Herald.

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