15:54 GMT16 January 2021
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    More than 41.17 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, and almost 1.13 million people have died due to the infection since the pandemic broke out, according to Johns Hopkins University. Amid the growing numbers of infections, nations across the world are preparing for a second wave, reintroducing quarantine measures.

    The United States remains the most affected country with 8.3 million coronavirus cases and a death toll in excess of 222,000. India is second with 7.6 million infected and almost 116,000 deaths, while Brazil has the second-highest death toll (over 151,700) and is third in the overall number of cases (at least 5.1 million).

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    • 21:45

      Turkey Sets New Record Daily Rise in COVID-19 Cases as 2,102 People Test Positive Over Day

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey has registered 2,102 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the new highest daily increase since May 8, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday.

      "Today, 2,102 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, the total number of those infected is 355,582. Seventy-one patients have died, the total death toll is 9,584. As many as 1,581 patients have recovered today, the total is 310,027," the ministry said.

      According to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, the COVID-19 pandemic in the country has reached its second peak.

    • 21:36

      BRICS' Projects on Combating COVID-19 May Be Presented Next Month - Brazilian Embassy

      KAZAN (Sputnik) - The BRICS group of countries' projects for combating the coronavirus pandemic may be presented in November, Paulo Cesar do Valle Torres, a second secretary of the Brazilian Embassy in Moscow, said on Thursday.

      "Within the BRICS, we have an initiative to collect projects to combat the coronavirus. The results will be presented at a meeting in November, possibly before that," Torres said at the fifth BRICS Young Diplomats Forum in Kazan.

      On 14 October, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that the BRICS countries were working on the creation of a warning system for risks and epidemiological threats.

      BRICS consists of the five largest emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The 12th summit of the bloc will be held on 17 November in the format of a videoconference.

    • 21:25

      Russia Ready for Fair Int'l Cooperation for Getting Out of COVID-19 Crisis – Envoy to EU

      VERONA (Sputnik) - Russia is ready to cooperate with other states on an equal basis in order to get out of the coronavirus crisis together in the coming months, Vladimir Chizhov, the representative of Russia to the European Union, said in remarks to the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona on Thursday.

      "In the coming months, we all, I hope, will finally overcome the pandemic and get out of the coronacrisis. Obviously, it will be easier to do this together, especially since we are talking not only about economic recovery, but also about developing a strategy for responding to such global challenges in the future ... Russia is always ready for equal cooperation to address such challenges. We hope that other states on our continent will come to understand that concentrating exclusively on solving their individual problems is not the most far-sighted choice," Chizhov said.

      Problems and challenges of different nature are arising and will arise, but the key thing here is the means by which we all try to overcome them, the envoy continued.

      "Nowadays, some states rely on tools that are far from classical, by which I mean economic cooperation, diplomacy, negotiations. In the economic sphere, they are increasingly using the tool of ex-territorial sanctions that has nothing to do with international law, but is rather a manifestation of unfair competition," the diplomat pointed out.

      Italy’s Verona is hosting the 13th Eurasian Economic Forum on Thursday and Friday despite the newly introduced restrictions in the country aimed at curbing the rapid spread of the COVID-19 infection.

    • 17:54

      Slovakia to Introduce Partial Lockdown From Saturday Until 1 November

      Slovakia is set to impose a partial lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus infections, Prime Mister Igor Matovic said on Thursday, adding the time frame will be from 24 October until 1 November.

      The authorities say people will still be allowed to leave home for work, essential shopping and other services, as well as for trips to nature near home.

       

    • 16:57

      UN Chief Guterres Calls for Global Ceasefire to Jointly Fight COVID-19

      UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated in a speech on the United Nations Day on Thursday that all hostilities worldwide should cease in order to direct joint efforts toward combating the novel coronavirus pandemic.

      “On United Nations Day, I reinforce my appeal for a global ceasefire so we can devote all our energies to fighting COVID-19,” Guterres said.

      The UN Secretary-General went on to urge the international community to act together to prevent a climate catastrophe, support gender equality and pave the way for a healthier, safer and more sustainable world.

    • 16:20

      Italy Registers Record Number of New Corona Infections

      Italy has registered as many as 16,079 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported on Thursday, making it the highest daily tally since the the country's first flare-ups in March, and way up from the previous record of 15,199 reported on Wednesday.

      The ministry also reported 136 COVID-related deaths on Thursday, as compared to 127 the day before, but still far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in the European country in March and April, when daily fatalities reached 900.

      Italy's three largest regions - Lazio, which includes Rome, Campania, the southern region which includes densely populated Naples, and Lombardy with its main city Milan, meanwhile face new curfews as regional authorities scramble to rein in the continuing spread of COVID-19.

    • 16:05

      US' COVID-19 Single-Day Deaths Top 1,200 for First Time Since August

      The number of coronavirus deaths reported across the US on Wednesday reached its highest in two months, signalling that the pandemic was taking hold across the country with the advent of a cold season.

      COVID-19 deaths nationwide averaged about 700 a day for a lion's share of October before rising to 1,237 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters analysis -  the biggest estimates since mid-August.

    • 15:55

      French PM Says There's Still Time to Skip Tougher Anti-COVID Measures

      French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday there is still time, to avoid tougher measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, admitting though that it is running up.

      "If we fail to stop the pandemic, we will be facing a dire situation and we will have to mull much tougher measures", Castex told a press conference where he announced a broad extension of the curfew put in place a week ago in Paris and other major cities.

      "We still have time to avoid that but we don't have much time," he said.

      France on Thursday extended the anti-COVID curfew in place in nine cities to large parts of the country, taking the number of people required to stay indoors at night close to 46 million residents.

      The measures will take effect from midnight on Friday (22.00 GMT), Prime Minister Jean Castex said, lamenting that "the coming weeks will be hard and our hospitals will be sorely tested."

      Paris and eight other French cities were placed under curfew last weekend in response to a severe rise in daily new infections.

    • 15:47

      Democratic Nominee Joe Biden Tests Negative for COVID-19 Ahead of Tonight's Final Debate

      Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he has tested negative for COVID-19 ahead of his debate with President Donald Trump.

      Biden commented on the subjects to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday before flying to Nashville, Tennessee, where he's scheduled to participate in the second debate with the incumbent president, the final scheduled showdown of the two candidates before the November election. Biden says he underwent the coronavirus testing on Thursday.

    • 15:41

      Spain's Castile And Leon Region Asks Central Authorities to Impose Curfew Due to COVID-19

      Francisco Igea, the vice-president of the regional government of the Spanish Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon, on Thursday called on the central government to impose a curfew in the region due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

      During the press conference, Igea said that he had already sent a letter with the request to Madrid. "It would be irresponsible not to take action ... The lives of tens of thousands of Spanish citizens are at stake, and the moment to make decisions has come, no matter how tough they may be," he said.

      According to Igea, the restrictions are necessary in connection with a "dramatic situation" that could lead to a "collapse in the health sector."

      Over the past two weeks, 12,500 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Castile and Leon.

      On Wednesday, Spain became the sixth country in the world to register a total of over 1 million coronavirus cases. The worrisome statistics prompted the authorities to boost restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic.

      A number of municipalities are isolated, including such large cities as Madrid, Zaragoza, Leon, Salamanca, Burgos. The authorities of the autonomous communities of Navarra and La Rioja closed their regional borders for two weeks. Bars and restaurants are closed in Catalonia.

      On 9 October, the Spanish government introduced a state of readiness in nine municipalities of the community of Madrid, including the capital. It ends on Saturday. While the city authorities are to decide what restrictive measures will be further applied, one of the options is imposing a curfew.

    • 14:52

      Ukrainian Health Ministry Says Preclinical Phase of COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Successful

      "On Tuesday, jointly with research scientists, we presented the work that lasted six months on developing and conducting the preclinical phase of the vaccine against COVID-19. This phase consists of several big stages. We can say that it has been concluded, and within the framework of this preclinical phase, it was found that this vaccine candidate has quite good prospects. The virus is being neutralised", Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said.

      According to him, the vaccine was jointly developed by a consortium of US companies and Ukrainian scientists.

      "Due to the fact that we have completed this phase, now we need to start the clinical phase. It will be started with the full support of the state in terms of financing of all processes", the minister added.

      Ukraine has confirmed over 320,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 6,000 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. Earlier in October, Ukraine's cabinet tightened lockdown restrictions in the country due to the worsening epidemiological situation and an increase in coronavirus-related infections.

    • 14:06

      Lazio Becomes Third Italian Region to Impose Curfew Due to COVID-19, Reports Say

      The governor of the Lazio region, Nicola Zingaretti, signed a new order on Wednesday that imposes a curfew for 30 days starting from Friday. The curfew will begin at midnight, and last until 5:00 a.m. local time (6:00 GMT).

      The regions of Lombardy and Campania have already had similar measures in place. The Lombardy curfew will run beginning on Thursday, will be in place until 13 November. The curfew in Campania is expected to start on Friday.

    • 13:55

      UK Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions in Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, and in Slough, Health Minister Says

      "We're seeing rising rates of infection in Stoke-on-Trent, in Coventry and in Slough. In all of these areas, there are over 100 positive cases per 100,000 people, cases are doubling around every fortnight and we're seeing a concerning increase of cases among the over-60s", health minister Matt Hancock told parliament.

    • 13:25

      Sweden to Tighten COVID-19 Rules for Nightclubs, Prime Minister Says

    • 13:02

      Germany Puts Poland, Switzerland on List of High Risk COVID-19 Contagion Zones

      Germany has put Poland and Switzerland on the list of regions with a high risk of COVID-19 contagion over the growing number of new coronavirus cases there, the German government's crisis response centre said.

      "The entire territory of Poland is now considered to be a risk zone. The whole of Switzerland is considered to be a risk zone", the statement said.

      The list also includes some regions of Italy, Estonia, Austria, Slovenia, Sweden, Hungary and the United Kingdom, as well as the entire territories of Ireland and Lichtenstein.

      The Canary Islands have been removed from the list and are no longer considered a risk zone.

      Inclusion on the list means that German citizens should refrain from unnecessary trips to these regions — such as tourist trips — and upon returning home, they should undergo a test or 14-day quarantine at home.

      The new travel advisory will be effective starting at midnight on 25 October.

    • 12:22

      Italy Ready to Ramp up COVID-19 Response Again ‘If Necessary’, Prime Minister Says

      "We are still under a pandemic, and the continuous spread of the infection requires very close attention from us. This time, having the experience of last spring, we must work and remain alert. We are ready to take action again if necessary", Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the parliament.

      At the same time, the Italian prime minister said that the situation now was "very different from that in March" and that he was opposed to the closure of schools, which only reopened in September in the wake of the first lockdown.

      To date, Italy has registered nearly 450,000 COVID-19 cases and over 36,000 related deaths. The country was among the worst-hit in the spring.

    • 12:20

      Hungary Ready to Buy Russian, Chinese COVID-19 Vaccines if They Prove Effective, Reports Say

      According to the Hungary Today newspaper, Hungarian's operative board — the body responsible for handling the coronavirus outbreak — is determining if vaccines from Russia and China are effective against the disease. If they are found to be viable, Budapest would be ready to acquire them, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the prime minister's office, said.

      He added that the government has also reserved 6.5 million doses of the vaccine developed under EU research programs at a total cost of 13 billion forints ($42.2 million).

      Gulyas also urged citizens to get vaccinated against the common flu to avoid infections. He added that hospitals across the country dispose of 47 percent of unoccupied beds for COVID-19 patients.

      On Thursday, Hungary recorded 2,032 cases, the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic in the country. To date, Hungary has confirmed 52,212 COVID-19 infections, with a death toll of 1,305.

    • 12:18

      COVID-19 Cases in the Netherlands Rise by More Than 9,000 in 24 Hours, Official Data Shows

    • 11:27

      Belgian Foreign Minister in Hospital After Contracting COVID-19, Reports Say

      BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes was hospitalised on Thursday to undergo treatment for COVID-19, Belgium's RTBF television channel reported, citing the official's spokesperson.

      According to RTBF’s sources, the top diplomat was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit, with her condition described as stable. Wilmes said that she had tested positive for the coronavirus last Saturday.

    • 11:06

      AstraZeneca’s Shares Drop 1.5% After Death of COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Volunteer

      (FILES) File photo taken on July 21, 2020 of the offices of British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC in Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK

      AstraZeneca’s Shares Drop 1.5% After Death of COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Volunteer

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Shares of AstraZeneca, a UK-Swedish pharmaceutical company, fell by 1.5 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday, after a previous day decline by 1.8 percent amid reports that a Brazilian volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine had died.
      Read more
    • 10:24

      Austria Registers 2,435 New COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Reports Say

    • 10:20

      Japan Plans Scrapping COVID-19 Quarantine for Business Trips Shorter Than 3 Days, Reports Say

      "There are many business trips and negotiations that can comfortably be completed within 72 hours. We hope to return to normal as soon as possible while giving attention to (preventing) the spread of infections", a source in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's office told Japan's Kyodo News agency.

      The proposed exemption would apply to arrivals from a select number of countries, based on their epidemiological situation, the agency said.

      Similar arrangements are already in place in Japan for business trips to and from Vietnam, Singapore, and South Korea. Travellers from these countries must test negative for the coronavirus disease and their movements upon arrival are limited.

    • 09:26

      Around 50 Countries in Talks on Deliveries of Russian COVID-19 Drug Areplivir, Developer Says

      Around 50 countries are in talks with Moscow on deliveries of Russia's coronavirus drug Areplivir, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Promomed that developed the drug told Sputnik on Thursday.

      "These are South American, African and Arab countries. The interest in the medication has started growing, as reports confirming its efficiency have been released", Andrey Mladentsev said.

      According to the Promomed chief, the 50 countries engaged in negotiations include Brazil, Vietnam, Guatemala, Georgia, the Dominican Republic, Iraq, Egypt, Spain, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Lebanon, India, Syria, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Nigeria, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and South Africa.

      Promomed CEO Andrey Mladentsev earlier stated that the foreign shipments of Areplirivr are suspended amid high demand in Russia.

    • 09:18

      Russian Health Minister to Self-Isolate After Family Member Tests Positive for COVID-19, Aide Says

    • 08:51

      Russian Defence Ministry to Deploy Coronavirus Hospital in South Ossetia, Shoigu Says

      "At the request from South Ossetia, the commander-in-chief has decided to deploy a mobile hospital in Tskhinval. I ask you to start this work today", Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, stressing that the task should be fulfilled promptly.

      The South Ossetian military has submitted a request to the Russian Defence Ministry, by order of South Ossetia's leader Anatoly Bibikov, to deploy a 150-bed military field hospital and send doctors to the republic.

    • 08:43

      Indonesia Registers 4,432 New COVID-19 Cases, Death Toll Rises by 102, Reports Say

    • 08:34

      Poland Registers 12,107 New COVID-19 Cases, Reports Say

      Poland has registered 12,107 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, setting a new single-day record, the health ministry said on Thursday. The previous highest spike of 10,040 cases was reported on Wednesday. Over the past day, the country has seen a record in the daily COVID-19 death toll, with 168 new fatalities confirmed.

    • 08:03

      'We Still Have Chance to Slow Spread of Pandemic', Germany's RKI Health Institute Says

    • 07:58

      Moscow Records 4,413 СOVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

      The largest increase of COVID-19 cases was recorded in Moscow, where 4,413 new positive tests were registered (up from 4,389 yesterday). A total of 697 new cases were reported in St. Petersburg (up from 684 yesterday) and 462 cases were confirmed in the Moscow Region (down from 466 yesterday).

    • 07:58

      Russia Records 15,971 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 15,971 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 4,116 (25.8 percent) were detected with people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 1,463,306.

      As many as 290 coronavirus patients died in the past 24 hours, down from 317 yesterday, raising the country’s death toll to 25,242.

      A total of 11,428 coronavirus patients were confirmed to have recovered over the past day, up from 10,952 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,107,988.

    • 06:45

      Drastic Measures Needed as COVID-19 Epidemic Not Under Control in Spain, Health Minister Says

    • 06:35

      Over 55.6Mln Tests for COVID-19 Conducted in Russia, Consumer Rights Watchdog Says

      According to the national public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 55.6 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 321,958 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring.

    • 06:14

      Over 7,000 New COVID-19 Infections Confirmed in Ukraine

    • 05:24

      Czech Republic Reports 14,968 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 04:50

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 55,838 to Over 7.7Mln

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – India has confirmed 55,838 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 7,706,946, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 116,616 people, with 702 new fatalities recorded over the past day. More than 6.8 million people have recovered in India since the start of the outbreak.

    • 04:47

      Qatari Authorities Say Managed to Prevent 1 Million People From Contracting COVID-19

      DOHA (Sputnik) - During the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities in Qatar, with a population of 2.5 million, have managed to prevent 1 million people from contracting COVID-19 thanks to special measures, Abdul Latif Al Khal, the head of the national strategic group on coronavirus response, said during a university seminar.

      "Without the imposition of restrictions and measures to preserve public health, the impact of the virus would be so severe that it would cause the collapse of the national healthcare system. As a result of government interference, the peak number of cases was 79 percent lower than it could have been without the measures, and daily admissions to intensive care units reduced by 77 percent", Al Khal said.

      "One can only imagine the impact on the healthcare system of Qatar if a million more people fell ill", he said.

      Qatar, despite its small size and population, has long been among the leaders in the Arab world in terms of the increase in coronavirus cases.

      In July, at the peak of the disease in the country, more than 2,000 cases were recorded daily. However, over the past two months, the number of detected cases of the disease has not exceeded 300.

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