06:28 GMT05 December 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (247)
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    The global coronavirus death toll has topped 1.213 million; over 47.4 million cases of the infection have been detected, and over 31.6 million of those patients have recovered, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The United States still has the highest case count in the world, with 9,382,079 infected, of whom 232,584 have died so far.

    India and Brazil, which rank next in the list, have reached 7,313,876 and 5,566,049 cases total, respectively.

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    • 03:00

      Rome Mayor Says Contracted COVID-19

      ROME (Sputnik) - The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, said she had contracted the asymptomatic form of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

      “I want to inform you that last week I spoke to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 today,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

      According to Raggi, after the identified infection, she feels well and has no symptoms. She plans to work from home in isolation.

    • 23:30

      US Tops 100,000 COVID-19 Daily Cases - Reports

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States for the first time on Wednesday surpassed 100,000 new coronavirus daily cases, the Washington Post reported citing its own data.

      "The United States reported more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases," the newspaper said. "Seventeen states including Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana and West Virginia - on Wednesday reported record numbers of patients hospitalized with COVID-19."

    • 18:21

      Lithuania to Impose Nationwide Quarantine From November 7 Over COVID-19

      The Lithuanian government has decided to introduce a nationwide quarantine starting November 7 to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.

      Over the past 24 hours, Lithuania has confirmed 639 new COVID-19 infections bringing the country's total tally to 12,765. Meanwhile, the death toll has increased by seven to 182.

      "This is an inevitable decision - quarantine in Lithuania has been announced [at night] from Friday to Saturday. I am sure it will work," Skvernelis said at a press conference.

      The quarantine is set to be in force for at least three weeks until November 29.

      According to the prime minister, the government intends to restrict the activity of food outlets with only takeaway food being allowed. In addition, the number of people attending public events like weddings and funerals will be limited to 10.

      Kindergartens and primary schools will operate as usual, while high schools pupils and students will return to online studying.

      Meanwhile, museums, theatres, cinemas are set to be closed, and sports events will be held without spectators.

    • 18:20

      Putin Backs Lukashenko's Proposal to Produce COVID-19 Vaccine in Belarus, Minsk Says

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has given his support to a proposal raised by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to produce a vaccine against COVID-19 in Belarus making use of Russian technology, the press service of the Belarusian leader told the state-run Belta news agency on Wednesday.

      "In terms of combating the pandemic, they [Putin and Lukashenko] talked about organizing vaccine production in Belarus, transferring Russian technology and technological processes for this purpose. The Belarusian leaders' proposal was supported by his Russian counterpart," the press service said following phone talks between the two leaders, as quoted by the news agency.

      During their conversation, both Putin and Lukashenko also discussed a range of pressing bilateral and global issues, including matters in the United States, Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine, the agency cited the press service as saying.

    • 16:49

      Switzerland to Mobilize 2,500 Soldiers to Combat COVID-19

      Switzerland is set to mobilize 2,500 military personnel to help the country in the fight against the coronavirus, according to the Federal Council’s statement, published on Wednesday.

      Switzerland has already mobilized soldiers in late March when the country was hit by the first wave of COVID-19.

      The Swiss military will be assisting health workers in various cantons of the country. Soldiers will focus on supporting hospitals in providing basic patient care, identifying suspected coronavirus cases and conducting tests. The military will also send technical equipment to ICU units and provide medical transportation vehicles to the public health sector.

      The government's decision envisions the mobilization program to last until March 31 next year.

      To date, Switzerland has confirmed over 192,000 cases, including more than 87,000 recoveries and 2,500 deaths. Like many other European countries, Switzerland has been seeing a spike in daily registered COVID-19 cases in late October and early November.

    • 16:21

      UK Lawmakers Vote in Favor of Month-Long Nationwide COVID-19 Lockdown in England

      Lawmakers in the United Kingdom's House of Commons have voted overwhelmingly to approve the government's plan to introduce a four-week nationwide lockdown in England in order to curb the coronavirus disease.

      During the vote on Wednesday afternoon, members of parliament voted 516-38 in favour of approving the lockdown, which will come into force on Thursday.

      Labour leader Keir Starmer had said earlier in the week that he would support the government's proposal to impose the lockdown in England.

      Under the new measures, non-essential businesses and services, such as restaurants and bars, will be forced to close. Citizens have also been urged to limit their journeys and not travel unless it is essential.

    • 15:36

      Almost 90% of South Koreans Believe Ban on Rallies Due to COVID-19 Justified, Poll Shows

      Nine out of 10 South Korean citizens consider the government's decision to ban rallies and demonstrations as a relevant measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and do not view it as a violation of freedom of speech, a fresh survey by the Korea Press Foundation revealed on Wednesday.

      In February, the Seoul government decided to temporarily ban holding mass rallies in the capital over the threat of spreading the new coronavirus. Despite the ban, thousands of activists, including those diagnosed with COVID-19, took to the streets on Liberation Day on August 15, which triggered a new surge in the infections. Within the context, the authorities banned any demonstrations of more than 10 people.

      According to the survey findings, 88 percent of South Koreans said that restrictions on holding mass rallies were inevitable amid the pandemic, while 12 percent said this ban breached freedom of speech.

      Among those considering themselves to be conservatives, 34 percent stated that the ban on rallies infringed upon their rights. Among liberals, only 3 percent think the same way.

      The survey also established that 87 percent considered necessary the collection of personal information about visitors to public institutions, including food facilities, amid the pandemic, while 13 percent said it was privacy intrusion.

      Only 22 percent of respondents believe that the majority of residents were in fact infected with the coronavirus, the same number suggests that the authorities understate the real toll of COVID-19 patients.

      In addition, 60 percent of South Koreans believe the coronavirus was artificially developed in a laboratory.

      The survey was conducted from October 23-28 among 1,000 respondents via the internet.

    • 15:35

      Italian Prime Minister Signs New Decree Introducing Stricter Anti-COVID-19 Measures

      Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has signed a new decree tightening anti-COVID-19 measures that foresee, among other restrictions, closure of shopping malls on non-working days, a government press release stated.

      The new measures will enter into force on November 5 and will remain in place at least until December 3. During the implementation period, the country will be divided into zones according to the contamination risk level — red (highest), orange (high) and green (low).

      In the zones with the highest risk, "any movement into and out of the territories will be prohibited, except for the movements motivated by proven work needs or situations of necessity or for health reasons," the decree reads. Bars, pubs, restaurants, ice cream stands and pastry shops will be closed. Only catering services with home delivery will be allowed. Moreover, all non-essential shops will be closed. Only primary schools will remain open in these regions.

      As for the areas with high risk (orange), movements into and out of the region will also be prohibited, except for the movements motivated by work or health reasons. Restaurants and bars will be closed, and only catering services with home delivery will remain active, according to the new decree.

      The document also envisages measures that will be applicable  to the whole national territory regardless of the risk level. Among them, closure of all museums and exhibitions, a curfew starting at 10 p.m. (previously it was from 9 p.m.), distance learning for all secondary schools, closure of shopping malls on non-working days and shutting down of all gaming places and slot machines.

      It is expected that Lombardy, Piedmont, Alto Adige, Valle d’Aosta and Calabria regions are going to be considered "red" zones. while Apulia, Sicily, Liguria and Veneto are expected to become "orange" zones.

    • 15:03

      Russia Ready to Cooperate on Sputnik V Vaccine on Platform of Council of Europe, Lavrov Says

      A health worker holds the Russian coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology during the vaccination of medical workers, in Sestroretsk, Leningrad region, Russia

      Russia Ready to Cooperate on Sputnik V Vaccine on Platform of Council of Europe, Lavrov Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia is ready to cooperate on vaccination by its Sputnik V vaccine on the platform of the Council of Europe, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday.
      Read more
    • 13:43

      UK's PM Johnson Optimistic Over Medium Term, Despite Looming Lockdown

      "While I am more optimistic now ... about the medium- and long-term future than I have been for many months, there can be no doubt that the situation before us today is grave, and the need for action acute," Johnson said.

    • 13:21

      UK to Roll Out Testing on 'Scale Never Seen Before' After Lockdown Ends

      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged on Wednesday to roll out new types of COVID-19 testing on a "scale never seen before" once the lockdown ends in early December.

      "At the expiry of this period on December 2nd, by then … we will be rolling out across this country new types of testing on a scale never seen before … enabling us to detect asymptomatic cases and that's crucial because 70 percent of the transmission is taking place, as the house knows, between people who have no symptoms," Johnson said in parliament.

      England is going to enter a four-week strict lockdown from Thursday, in an attempt to tackle the current surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

      Like most countries across the world, the United Kingdom is struggling to tackle the second wave of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the kingdom confirmed a further 20,018 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 400 deaths, which is the highest daily toll since May.

    • 12:42

      UK Finance Minister Sunak to Make Statement on COVID-19 Support on Thursday

      "The chancellor will be making a general statement ... about all the support, all the provisions that we're making for this latest phase to tackle the Autumn surge of coronavirus tomorrow," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

    • 12:07

      Japan Reports 623 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:44

      UK PM Johnson Says We Will Do Whatever It Takes to Back British Business

    • 11:29

      Iran Reports 8,452 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:00

      Switzerland Reports 10,073 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 10:40

      Afghanistan Registers 86 Nnew COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:40

      Danish Prime Minister in Isolation After Lawmakers, Officials Contract COVID-19

      Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen went into isolation and was tested for COVID-19 after several lawmakers and officials, including Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup, have contracted the virus, the Danish Local media outlet reported on Wednesday, citing the prime minister’s office.

      Haekkerup said on Tuesday that he was experiencing COVID-like symptoms and confirmed earlier in the day that he tested positive for the virus. Frederiksen attended a meeting last week where Haekkerup was also present.

      According to Local, several lawmakers and Soren Pape Poulsen, the leader of the Danish Conservative Party, have also contracted the coronavirus. A parliamentary questions session with the prime minister scheduled for Tuesday was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the legislature.

      To date, Denmark has so far confirmed nearly 50,000 COVID-19 cases, over 36,000 recoveries and 728 deaths.

    • 10:39

      Estonia Confirms Record High of 208 COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      Estonia has registered a record-high daily increase of 208 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country's total tally to 5,333, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

      "A record number of 208 COVID-19 cases detected per day was recorded in Estonia. The COVID-19 virus was diagnosed in 5,333 Estonians in various regions of the country. More than 269,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Estonia since 31 January. Forty-four patients are being treated in hospitals, two of them are on ventilators," the ministry said in a statement.

      Meanwhile, the death toll from the coronavirus in the Baltic country has reached 73, the ministry added.

      The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the preceding two weeks in the country stood at 87.44, the ministry said.

      Despite the deteriorating epidemiological situation, the Estonian authorities said earlier on Wednesday that they did not yet plan to introduce additional restrictive measures, as the country was now better prepared for the pandemic than in the spring.

    • 10:23

      Malaysia Reports 1,032 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 09:18

      Indian Army Chief to Hand COVID-19 Medical Aid to Nepal on Thursday

      India's Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane will deliver medical aid to neighboring Nepal for fighting COVID-19 during his three-day visit beginning on Wednesday, Indian-based regional news agency ANI News reported.

      "Aid includes different kinds of medicines and other medical equipment. With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal, these medical aids are specially meant for them. It is the continued gesture and commitment if Government of India to help neighboring countries to fight the pandemic," the news agency quoted a senior official from the Indian Mission in Nepal as saying.

      According to the report, the handover of aid will take place during a behind-the-doors ceremony at the Nepal Army Headquarters on Thursday.

      Naravane's visit agenda also includes meetings with his Nepalese counterpart Purna Chandra Thapa, as well as Nepal's President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli.

      The visit is expected to ease the degree of tensions between the East Asian neighbors.

    • 09:15

      Indonesia Reports 3,356 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 08:29

      Hungary Reports 4,219 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 08:03

      Philippines Reports 987 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 07:41

      Russia Records 19,768 Covid-19 Cases in 24 Hours

      Russia has recorded 19,768 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, which brings the cumulative total to 1,693,454, the federal response centre said on Tuesday.

      In the same 24 hours, 15,567 people have been discharged and 389 patients with the coronavirus have died.

      On Tuesday, Russia recorded a daily increase of 18,648 cases.

      Moscow registered 5,826 new infections in the past 24 hours, the highest number of any region in the country. On Tuesday, the capital had 5,150 new cases, on Monday 4,796.

    • 07:20

      Denmark's Justice Minister Haekkerup Tests Positive for COVID-19

    • 07:19

      Bulgaria Reports 4,041 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 05:35

      Palestine Prolongs Coronavirus-Linked State of Emergency for 1 Month

      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to prolong the coronavirus-linked state of emergency for a month, media reported.

      The state of emergency will be extended for 30 days starting from Tuesday, the WAFA news agency reported on late Tuesday.

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