03:15 GMT25 November 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (241)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 1.173 million; over 44.4 million cases have been detected, and almost 29.9 million of those 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 coronavirus cases continues to rise rapidly around the world, with a number of countries introducing new tougher restrictions, including France, which imposed a second lockdown on Wednesday.

    The United States still has the highest case count in the world, with 8,855,433 cases, including 227,673 fatalities and 3,518,140 recoveries; it is followed by India and Brazil.

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    • 01:20

      Mexico Registers 5,948 New COVID-19 Cases, 464 Fatalities

    • 00:52

      Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says it is Crazy for Countries to Return to Lockdown Due to Coronavirus

    • 00:44

      US Hits Record 91,295 COVID-19 Cases in 24 Hours

    • 00:38

      Brazil's Agriculture Minister Says She Would Not Vaccinate Against Coronavirus if Obliged to

    • 00:12

      Mainland China Confirms 25 New COVID-19 Cases vs 47 Cases Yesterday

    • 23:09

      All EU Countries Will Simultaneously Receive COVID-19 Vaccine, Commission President Says

      All EU nations will receive the COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously with the number of got vaccines depending on the countries’ population, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

      “[The EU] priority is to ensure indeed the fair distribution of vaccines to member states. There I have good news: the member states will all get vaccines at the same time and at the same conditions based on their share of the EU population,” von der Leyen said at a press conference on late Thursday

    • 21:30

      EU to Allocate Over $250Mln to Transport COVID-19 Patients Among EU Nations – Commission

      The European Commission will allocate 220 million euro (over $256 million) to organize cross-border transfer of COVID-19 patients within the European Union, commission's President Ursula von der Leyen said.

      “The commission announced tonight that we are making 220 million euros available to finance a safe cross-border transfer of patients where it is needed,” von der Leyen said at a press conference on late Thursday.

    • 20:31

      New COVID-19 Lockdown in France to Force Closure of 200,000 Enterprises – Finance Minister

      The French government's decision to reintroduce a nationwide lockdown in order to curb the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will force 200,000 businesses to temporarily close, the French minister of the economy and finance, Bruno Le Maire, said on Thursday.

      "The quarantine measures are a heavy blow for all companies that have to close. I am talking, in particular, about the 200,000 enterprises that will have to close from tomorrow," the minister said at a press conference.

      An additional 6 billion euros ($7 billion) will be allocated to a so-called solidarity fund to provide support to businesses and their workers, Le Maire stated, adding that the government has earmarked a total of 15 billion euros in financial support for the month-long quarantine.

      The new lockdown measures, which will enter into effect from Friday, were announced by French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday. Non-essential businesses will close, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work or medical reasons under the new measures, which will remain in force until December 1.

      On the eve of the lockdown, public health officials in France registered 47,637 new cases of COVID-19 over the preceding 24 hours, a significant rise from the 36,437 new positive tests registered on Wednesday.

    • 20:10

      Moscow's Death Toll From COVID-19 Rises by 69 Over Past Day to 6,713 – Response Center

      Moscow has registered 69 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 6,713, the city's coronavirus response centre said in a statement on Thursday.

      "Another 69 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the centre said. 

      In the previous day, 66 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

    • 19:11

      Coronavirus-Positive Doctors in Russia to Receive Free Course of Areplivir Drug, Developer Says

      Russian doctors working in the so-called coronavirus red zones in hospitals who subsequently test positive for the disease can expect to receive a free course of Areplivir, a new drug developed by Promomed to treat COVID-19, the developer said on Thursday.

      "The Promomed conglomeration can announce the start of a national program named 'Areplivir to the doctors' that will create stockpiles of the drug in regional medical centres for treating doctors who work in the red zone," Promomed said in a press release.

      Work is underway to draft a list of the Russian regions that will take part in a pilot of the program and the first batches of the drug are being prepared for shipment, the developer said.

      The Russian Health Ministry in September approved the outpatient use of two newly developed favipiravir-based drugs to treat the coronavirus disease, Areplivir and R-Pharm's Koronavir.

    • 19:09

      In Brazil, Coronavirus Vaccine Will be Approved and Ready for Distribution by June 2021, Health Regulator Says

    • 18:42

      Russian National Team Withdraws From 2020 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships

      The Russian national artistic gymnastics team withdrew from the 2020 European Championships over COVID-19 concerns, head coach Andrei Rodionenko told Sputnik.

      "The Russian national team withdrew from the European championships 2020. This is due to the epidemiological situation. Our main goal is to preserve the health of our athletes and coaches," Rodionenko.

      The European Artistic Gymnastics Championships will be held in Turkey's Mersin from December 9-13 (men) and from December 17-20 (women).

    • 18:36

      First US COVID-19 Vaccines May Be Available in Late December or Early January, Fauci Says

      According to the top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine are likely to be available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January. 

    • 18:12

      Spain's COVID-19 Tally Up to 1,160,083 on Thursday, Health Ministry Says

      The ministry added that the country's death toll from coronavirus has also increased to 35,466.

    • 17:26

      Europe is Epicentre of COVID-19 Pandemic Once Again, WHO Voices 'Very Real Concern'

    • 16:20

      Mass Vaccination Against COVID-19 to Begin in Moscow Region in January, Governor Says

    • 16:14

      Belarus Temporarily Restricts Entry of Certain Categories of Individuals From Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases

      Due to the epidemiological situation in neighbouring countries, Belarus has temporarily restricted entry for a number of categories of individuals from Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia via ground checkpoints starting Thursday, Anton Bychkovsky, spokesman for the Belarusian State Border Committee, told Sputnik.

      "In connection with the current epidemic situation in neighbouring countries, the Republic of Belarus temporarily restricts entry into its territory via ground checkpoints for certain categories of individuals from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine," he said.

      He clarified that employees of diplomatic missions and consular institutions, documented by diplomatic and service passports, do not face the restrictions. Also, the decision does not apply to drivers of vehicles intended for international road transport, and members of train and locomotive crews of international railway traffic.

      "At the same time, the checkpoint at the Minsk National Airport operates without these restrictions," Bychkovsky said.

    • 15:59

      IMF Chief Says UK's COVID-19 Economic Support Package Great Example of Coordinated Action

      The UK government's package of economic support measures enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to date is one of the best examples of coordinated action seen across the globe to prevent a surge in unemployment and corporate insolvencies, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said on Thursday.

      "Let me start by recognizing the enormous efforts the UK authorities have made to contain the impact of the pandemic. The unprecedented package of fiscal, monetary, and financial sector support measures has helped to sustain incomes, to keep unemployment down, and curb corporate insolvencies. It is one of the best examples of coordinated action that we have seen globally," Georgieva said at a press briefing.

      The IMF's managing director made reference to the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which, when introduced this past spring, allowed employees unable to work to receive up to 80 percent of their wages from the government.

      The UK government has used its "fiscal space" effectively to support workers and industries, Georgieva stated, adding that such measures should be continued.

      "The UK government is fortunate to have fiscal space for action and it has proven over the last months that it is using this fiscal space, leaning forward, but doing it also wisely. What we see are the benefits of active labor policies for the UK. They need to be continued. They made sense before; they continue to make sense now," she said.

      From November 1, the UK's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, which will allow employees to receive two-thirds of their normal pay for hours not worked.

      In the latest edition of the World Economic Outlook, published on October 13, the IMF predicted that the UK's GDP will contract by 9.8 percent in 2020, a slight improvement on the 10.2 percent drop forecast in June.

      The UK economy is predicted to recover partially in 2021 with growth of 5.9 percent, according to the IMF forecast.

    • 15:41

      Czech President Appoints New Health Minister After Former Official Was Caught Without Mask

      Czech President Milos Zeman appointed Jan Blatny, a specialist in pediatric hematology, as the new head of the ministry of health, on Thursday, after his predecessor had to step down over breaking anti-COVID rules.

      The previous health minister, Roman Prymula, was replaced after he was photographed leaving a Prague restaurant and entering a car without wearing a face mask this past Friday.

      "It is not functions or titles that are decisive now, but a sincere desire to defeat the COVID-19 epidemic. Taking on this function at such a moment is like throwing yourself into a stormy river, and amounts to political suicide," Zeman said during the appointment ceremony, as reported by the Czech TV broadcaster.

      The new minister, Jan Blatny, is 50 years old, and prior to his appointment to this post, he had worked as deputy director of the university hospital in Brno in the south-east of the country. Blatny is widely known as a recognized specialist in pediatric hematology.

      Since October 5, the state of emergency has been in effect in the republic. On Tuesday, the government asked parliament to extend it for another 30 days — until December 3. Under the emergency regime, schools and universities, catering establishments, cultural institutions, and non-essential shops have been closed in the country, all sports events have been stopped. The use of masks is also mandatory.

      On Monday, the authorities introduced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the period from October 28 to November 3.

      To date, the Czech Republic has confirmed more than 297,000 COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 2,675.

    • 15:16

      Mnuchin Discusses COVID-19 Economic Response With UK, Canada Finance Ministers, Treasury Says

      US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the finance ministers of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia discussed the economic response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Treasury Department said in a readout of the discussion on Thursday.

      "US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin participated in a conference call with the finance ministers of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom to discuss policies to support business and employment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic," the readout said.

      The discussion included the various response policies the four countries have undertaken to stem the effects of the economic downturn that came about from the restrictive measures imposed to combat the novel coronavirus, according to the readout.

      The call was hosted by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

    • 15:01

      Russia's Gamaleya Institute Head Refutes Reported Halt of Sputnik V Trials

      The trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 continue, the head of the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Alexander Gintsburg, said on Thursday, commenting on media reports that trials were suspended.

      Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that Russia temporarily stopped vaccinating new volunteers as part of its post-registration trials of the COVID-19 vaccine due to high demand and a shortage of doses.

      "The trials continue, everything goes on as usual. It's just that the gap between those receiving the first and second doses is quite significant — the first component has already been received by 20,000 people, and the first and second by about 9,000. Therefore, we decided to narrow this gap a little. The number of nurses and offices has not increased. As of now, many more people are vaccinated with the second component than the first," Gintsburg said.

      The specialist added that there were enough vaccine doses for the post-registration research.

      Meanwhile, the Russian Health Ministry also refuted the reports. In particular, Aleksey Kuznetsov, an aide to the Russian health minister, told Sputnik that all 40,000 volunteers would be vaccinated.

    • 14:42

      Spanish Parliament Extends High Alert Over Coronavirus for Entire Country Until May, Vote Results Show

    • 14:40

      Northern Ireland's State Secretary Self-Isolates After Contact With COVID-Positive Person

      Secretary of State of Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said on Thursday he had self-isolated after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 after that.

      A growing number of regions in the United Kingdom switch to Tier 3 — currently the highest — level of coronavirus-related threat as the infection rates continue to grow. The government warned that the restrictions might be toughened even further in separate hotbeds of infection to avoid a nationwide lockdown.

      As of Thursday, there have been 942,275 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom, including 45,675 deaths. A daily increase of almost 25,000 cases was recorded since Wednesday.

    • 14:17

      Greek Prime Minister to Announce New COVID-19 Restrictive Measures on Friday

      Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that he would announce the new measures to combat the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic later this week.

      "As in the first phase, when we took action early on, we must take tougher measures again and earlier than other European countries to prevent the worst, save lives and reduce the pressure on the health system," Mitsotakis said, as reported by the Greek Ekathimerini newspaper.

      The prime minister also said that stricter measures should be introduced to avoid the full lockdown.

      "I will say again that our goal remains to avoid a universal lockdown, so we will proceed to further strengthen the targeted restrictions," he added.

      Mitsotakis also said that Greece is 2-3 weeks behind what other European countries are experiencing today, however, the pressure on the health care system is stronger than ever.

      The new plan will be in place for one month. It will include the mandatory use of masks both indoors and outdoors for high-risk areas like Thessaloniki, Larissa and Rodopi. A curfew will start from 12:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., along with a ban on movement outside the peripheral unit. All public gatherings will be suspended. However, shops and schools will remain open.

      To date, Greece has confirmed over 34,000 COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 603.

    • 14:16

      Disneyland Paris Closing Again Due to COVID-19 Four Months After Reopening

      Disneyland Paris will close again on Thursday, barely four months after reopening, as authorities struggle to contain a second wave of COVID-19 infections by imposing new restrictions.

      "In line with latest direction from the French authorities, Disneyland Paris will be closing end of day on October 29th," the press service of the entertainment park said.

      The amusement park expressed hope to be open during Christmas and New Year holidays depending on government guidance, and said it would continue to receive bookings from December 19 to January 3.

      Disneyland Paris will be also closed from January 4 through February 12, the press service added.

      In July, Disneyland Paris resumed operations after four months of closure. Visitors of the park had to adhere to strict rules, including mandatory wearing of masks and booking tickets only online. Moreover, hugging Disney characters was temporarily prohibited.

      French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the introduction of a nationwide quarantine from October 30 to December 1 amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

    • 14:08

      US Democratic Presidential Hopeful Biden Tests Negative for COVID-19, Campaign Says

      Disneyland Paris will close again on Thursday, barely four months after reopening, as authorities struggle to contain a second wave of COVID-19 infections by imposing new restrictions.

      "In line with the latest direction from the French authorities, Disneyland Paris will be closing end of day on October 29th," the press service of the entertainment park said.

      The amusement park expressed hope to be open during Christmas and New Year holidays depending on government guidance and said it would continue to receive bookings from December 19 to January 3.

      Disneyland Paris will be also closed from January 4 through February 12, the press service added.

      In July, Disneyland Paris resumed operations after four months of closure. Visitors of the park had to adhere to strict rules, including mandatory wearing of masks and booking tickets only online. Moreover, hugging Disney characters was temporarily prohibited.

      French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the introduction of a nationwide quarantine from October 30 to December 1 amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

    • 12:53

      US Weekly Jobless Claims Fall to 751,000 for Week to 24 October

       Some 751,000 Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, about 5 percent lower from the previous week, Labor Department data showed on Thursday, as the US job market continued to struggle seven months into the coronavirus pandemic.

      “In the week ending October 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 751,000,” the department said in a news release. It revised claims in the previous week to 17 October to 791,000, putting the current week’s drop in unemployment at 40,000, or about 5 percent lower.

    • 11:23

      Russia Does Not Plan Introducing Nationwide COVID-19 Lockdown, Putin Say

      Russia does not plan introducing a nationwide lockdown amid a surge in coronavirus infections, as the government has a perfect understanding of what steps have to be taken, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

      "We understand clearly how we should act, this is why we do not plan any overwhelming  restrictive measures, the so-called na tionwide lockdown, when the economy and the business operation are in fact suspended completely," Putin said at the Russia Calling investment forum.

      Regional and municipal authorities should only resort to justified targeted measures in order to protect the people and at the same time maintain uninterrupted business operation, the president went on to say.

    • 10:33

      Israel to Extend COVID-19 State of Emergency Until 3 January, Prime Minister Says

      The Israeli cabinet approved on Thursday extending the coronavirus state of emergency until 3 January 2021, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

      "The Cabinet approved today, in a conference call, ... extending the state of emergency due to the coronavirus by 60 days, from 5 November 2020 until 3 January 2021.The decision will take effect upon its approval by the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

    • 09:42

      Marshall Islands Records First COVID-19 Cases

      The Marshall Islands authorities have recorded two cases of the coronavirus infection in the country at the US military base on Kwajalein Atoll, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the Office of the Chief Secretary said.

      "The Marshall Islands first border cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified on the military base on Kwajalein Atoll," a press release published on Facebook on Wednesday said.

      The statement that the two infected individuals arrived from Honolulu on 27 October on the same flight, their tests for coronavirus were positive while both people remained in a mandatory quarantine.

      The Marshall Islands authorities said there was no internal transmission of the coronavirus and there was no need to impose new restrictions.

      Up until this incident, the Republic of the Marshall Islands had been one of the few nations in the world where no cases of COVID-19 were recorded. Only a few island states such as Samoa, Tonga and Nauru are free of coronavirus so far.

    • 08:43

      Russia Registers Record 17,717 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia has registered a new record single-day increase of 17,717 COVID-19 cases, up from 16,202 yesterday, taking the cumulative total to 1,581,693, the country's coronavirus response centre said on Thursday.

      The previous single-day record of 17,347 COVID-19 cases was reported on 26 October.

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 17,717 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 4,691 (26.5 percent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 1,581,693.

      The largest increase was identified in Moscow, where 4,906 new positive tests were registered (up from 3,670 yesterday). A total of 758 new cases were recorded in St. Petersburg (up from 727 yesterday) and 514 cases were confirmed in the Moscow Region (up from 505 yesterday).

      The response center reported a new record of 366 COVID-19 fatalities, up from 346 yesterday, raising the country’s death toll to 27,301.

      Single-day recoveries also hit record, as 14,740 coronavirus patients were discharged, up from 12,361 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,186,041.

    • 08:21

      Indonesia Reports 3,565 New Coronavirus Infections, 89 Deaths

    • 08:14

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel Warns of Dramatic COVID-19 Situation

      "We are in a dramatic situation," Merkel told the lower house of parliament.

    • 08:01

      Philippines Reports 1,761 New COVID-19 Cases, 33 More Deaths

    • 07:29

      EU Leaders to Hold Video Conference to Coordinate Actions Against COVID-19

      The heads of the European Union’s states and governments will participate in a video conference set at 17:30 GMT on Thursday, which has been initiated by President of the European Council Charles Michel, to coordinate collective effort to fight the pandemic.

      "Every day counts. What we need now is determined action on an unequivocally European level, based on two pillars: testing and contact tracing, and vaccines," Michel said.

      On Tuesday the president stressed that “the EU member states must reach consensus on common rules for self-isolation and quarantine”, increase the number of tests and organize the vaccination campaign.

      According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 6,466,450 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK, with 213,207 deaths.

      The rapid growth of the COVID-19 infections forced the European leaders to impose a curfew, lockdown or even declare a state of emergency to contain the spread of the virus. 

    • 07:13

      New French COVID-19 Lockdown May Have to Go Beyond 1 December, Government Adviser Says

      "By 1 December, we will not be at 5,000 contaminations per day. I can tell that to you straight away today. We will need more time," government scentific adviser Professor Jean-François Delfraissy said.

    • 07:12

      France's Macron Warns Second COVID-19 Outbreak Will be Harder, More Deadly Than First

      French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a face mask delivers a speech at the end of a visit about the fight against separatism at the Seine-Saint-Denis prefecture headquarters in Bobigny, near Paris, France October 20, 2020.

      France's Macron Warns Second COVID-19 Outbreak Will be Harder, More Deadly Than First

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic will be tougher and more deadly than the spring outbreak, as the disease continues to circulate widely across French mainland.
      Read more
    • 07:09

      "We Do Not Want a Second National Lockdown", Says UK Housing Minister Jenrick, Who Insists Local Lockdowns Are the Best Approach

    • 06:39

      Czech Republic Reports 12,977 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 05:37

      Spain Closes 4 More Regions Amid Worsening COVID-19 Situation

      The Spanish authorities have restricted movement in the regions of Andalusia, Castile-La-Mancha, Castile and Leon and Murcia due to the worsening epidemiological situation amid the pandemic, according to the regional governments.

      The provinces of Granada, Jaen and Seville in Andalusia — the country's largest autonomous community — were put on a partial lockdown, following in the steps of the regions of Navarre, Aragon, Asturias, Basque Country and Rioja.

      Exceptions to leave or enter the territory of the autonomous communities are visits to medical institutions, work or study-related issues, as well as visits to relatives.

      Murcia closes borders for 14 days, while Andalusia, Castile and Leon and Castile-La-Mancha until November 9.

      Community leaders in Madrid want to restrict movement during the long weekend due to the holidays.

    • 05:16

      Cyprus Foreign Minister Self Isolates Over Coronavirus Contact

      Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides went into self-isolation on Wednesday due to contact with an employee infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

      "Foreign Minister Christodoulides has been in self-isolation since noon in accordance with the current instructions of the Ministry of Health, after the detection of a case of COVID in his close professional environment, which was revealed as a result of a test conducted yesterday evening. All necessary measures are being taken," the ministry said.

      Christodoulides was in Athens on Tuesday for a trilateral meeting with Greek and Israeli foreign ministers Nikos Dendias and Gabi Ashkenazi. The meeting ended in the evening.

      Dendias and Ashkenazi had held talks in Athens with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a day earlier. On Tuesday, Lavrov went into self-isolation due to a contact with a person infected with coronavirus.

    • 04:33

      Germany Registers Record 16,774 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past Day

      Germany has confirmed 16,774 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, with the total count reaching 481,013, the Robert Koch Institute said on Thursday.

      The death toll has grown by 89 to 10,272 people within the same period of time. More than 339,000 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

      A day earlier, the country confirmed 14,964 new coronavirus cases and 27 fatalities.

    • 04:31

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in India Surpasses 8 Million

      India has confirmed 49,881 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 8,040,203, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 120,527 people, with 517 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 7.3 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.

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