07:20 GMT05 December 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (247)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 1.282 million, over 52 million cases of the infection have been detected, and over 33.8 million people 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 10,397,827, including 241,619 fatalities and 3,997,175 recoveries.

    India and Brazil, which come next in the list of the most-affected countries, have reached 8,636,011 and 5,747,660 cases in total, respectively.

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    • 02:12

      US Registers Over 150,000 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours Setting New Record – NGO

      The United States has registered more than 150,000 new coronavirus cases within the past 24 hours, which is more than any other country’s daily increase since the start of the pandemic, the COVID Tracking Project said.

      The exact daily rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the United States has reached 150,526, with more than 67,000 patients remaining in hospitals. The death toll has increased by 1,104 people within the same period of time. 

      The United States remains the worst-hit nation both in terms of the number of cases (over 10 million) and fatalities (more than 230,000).

    • 01:11

      Mexico’s Official COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 97,056 Cases

    • 23:29

      Chile to Reopen Borders for Foreigners After 8 Months of Coronavirus-linked Closure

      Chile will allow foreign citizens to enter the country starting from November 23 after eight months of the closure over the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said in a bulletin.

      Foreign citizens will be able to arrive only at the international airport in Santiago.

      The arriving foreigners will have to present a negative coronavirus test passed within 72 hours before the arrival in Chile.

      The Chilean borders have been closed for foreign citizens over the coronavirus pandemic since March 18.

    • 20:24

      Biden, Dem Congressional Leaders Discuss Need to Pass COVID-19 Relief Bill - Statement

      Projected president-elect Joe Biden in a telephone call with Democratic leadership in Congress discussed the urgent need to pass legislation to grant the US public help during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, his transition team said in a press release on Thursday.

      "President-elect Joe Biden spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer," the release said. "They discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame-duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic."

      Biden, Pelosi and Schumer highlighted the need to help small businesses, provide support to state and local governments, among other needs.

      The release added they also discussed opportunities for a bipartisan effort to spur job growth in the United States.

    • 20:07

      Moscow's Death Toll From COVID-19 Rises by 70 Over Past Day to 7,643 - Response Center

    • 17:31

      France Pledges Extra $177Mln to WHO, COVAX to Bolster Vaccine Development

      France will be contributing an additional 50 million euros ($59 million) to the World Health Organization and another 100 million euros to the COVAX facility toward supporting the development of a safe vaccine and its subsequent fair distribution, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

      "The fight has just started and we need to mobilize even more. Financial mobilization first — securing a necessary amount of money to face this challenge. I have a pleasure to announce today that France will contribute around 100 million euros to COVAX once a vaccine is available. It is essential for the developing states to also be able to quickly benefit from the vaccine. France is also engaged to give another 50 million euros to the WHO," Macron said at a panel on COVID-19 vaccines at the Paris Peace Forum.

      COVAX is a component of the WHO-backed ACT Accelerator facility whose aim is to bring together and make equitably accessible all global developments in the diagnostics, treatment and vaccines against COVID-19. The COVAX facility is responsible for the vaccines.

      COVAX is co-led by the Gavi vaccine alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

    • 17:30

      Pentagon Embeds 10 Officers With US Health Agency to Plan COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

      Officers from the US Army, Navy and Air Force dispatched to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are assisting with plans to allocate and distribute up to 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine, the Defense Department said in a press release on Thursday.

      "Each of the Army, Navy and Air Force officers in Atlanta are teamed with a CDC regional coordinator responsible for a specific area of the country and its territories," the release said.

      Operation Warp Speed, led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Defense Department, is funding production of multiple vaccine candidates with the goal of producing an initial batch of 300 million doses, the release added.

      Among the leading candidates, the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced this week that its vaccine has proved 90 percent effective in advanced trials, with plans to apply for Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization within weeks.

      Operation Warp Speed is using the Defense Department’s Tiberius software platform to collect and analyze data from multiple sources including the US Census, HHS, state health offices and the CDC, the release said.

      The platform allows planners to integrate data from vaccine makers, clinical trials, supply chains and local health officials to develop plans to distribute both vaccine products and kits containing syringes and other supplies needed to administer the vaccine, the release added.

      The United States already has a proven vaccine distribution network in place that provides millions of seasonal flu shots each year, according to the release.

    • 17:29

      German Chancellor Says Scaled Down Contacts Amid COVID-19, Except for Urgent Meetings

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday participated in a video conference with students and said that she had reduced social contacts with the exception of necessary meetings.

      "I try not to hold meetings very often, only in case of professional necessity, but I want to stay in touch," Merkel said.

      The chancellor added that today's youth might be regarded as the COVID-19 generation, because the world had not seen such a pandemic since 1918-1919, when the Spanish flu pandemic emerged.

      "It periodically happens in the history of mankind. We should try to overcome it with the available means. Imagine, in 1918-1919 vaccination was not so developed, there was no penicillin, many antibiotics were not known… Today we are better prepared, but the pandemic remains a pandemic," Merkel said.

      On Tuesday, Germany signed a contract with BioNTech on the supply of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. According to German Health Minister Jehs Spahn, 18,487 new corona infections were reported nationwide on Wednesday. The country already closed bars, restaurants and other public places to limit contact between the citizens. Merkel urged Germans to stay at home to prevent the deterioration of the epidemiological situation.

    • 17:11

      COVID-19 Hospitalisations in France Now Higher Than During April Peak, Prime Minister Castex Says

    • 15:37

      WHO Will Add Sputnik V to Recommended COVID-19 Vaccines List for Emergency Use if It Meets Criteria

      Russian coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V

      WHO Will Add Sputnik V to Recommended COVID-19 Vaccines List for Emergency Use if It Meets Criteria

      GENEVA (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization (WHO) may add Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V to the list of recommended vaccines for emergency use if the drug meets necessary criteria, the organization said in a statement.
      Read more
    • 15:37

      US Stocks Plunge at Market Opening as COVID-19 Cases Rise

      In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, the American Flag hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York

      US Stocks Plunge at Market Opening as COVID-19 Cases Rise

      On Wednesday, US witnessed the latest all-time-high in new daily coronavirus cases that topped 145,000.
      Read more
    • 14:01

      Full Closure of Moscow's Cafes, Restaurants Over COVID-19 Will Ruin Business, Mayor Says

      Complete closure of cafes and restaurants rather than restricting their operation at night is impossible, as such COVID-19 measures would cause enormous damage to the entire hospitality industry, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Thursday.

      "Closing down all the hospitality industry in the daytime means a completely different threshold and a different operating mode, in fact, we will cause tremendous damage to the entire catering and restaurant business," Sobyanin said on the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

      Sobyanin also explained that the authorities had suspended the work of restaurants at night because the risks are higher. At night some restaurants and cafes operate as clubs or bars, where it is harder to follow the restriction measures. Therefore the probability of the infection spread is much higher during night time.

      On Tuesday, the Russian government introduced several new COVID-19 restrictions amid the surge in infections. For example, restaurants and clubs will not be allowed to work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. At these hours, they can work for delivery or catering. New restrictions will be in place from November 13 to January 15.

    • 13:45

      US Weekly Jobless Claims Fall By 6% to 709,000 for Week to 7 Nov

      “In the week ending 7 November, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 709,000,” the Labour Department said in a news release. It revised upward claims in the previous week to 31 October to 757,000. That dropped the latest week’s claims by 48,000, or about 6 percent.

    • 13:06

      COVID Vaccine by Canada's Medicago and UK's GSK Enters Phase II/III Clinical Trials

    • 12:15

      Russia's Cabinet Extends Tax Holidays for COVID-19 Affected Businesses by 3 Months

      The Russian government is extending tax holidays for businesses from the regions most affected by the pandemic by three months, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Thursday.

      "The situation is still difficult. Small and medium-sized businesses, in order to reduce costs and recover, need additional government assistance. Therefore, we are extending this anti-crisis support for organizations and individual entrepreneurs from certain affected industries for another three months until the end of the year," Mishustin said at a government meeting.

      In June, President Vladimir Putin signed a law on measures to support businesses, including tax holidays for the second quarter of the year for small and medium-sized businesses in the industries worst hit by the pandemic. For six months they were given a tax and insurance contributions deferral.

    • 11:37

      Iran's COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 40,000, Health Ministry Says

    • 10:07

      Germany's Maas Says COVID-19 Pandemic Gave Reason for Int'l Cooperation Despite Challenges

      The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created severe challenges for diplomats across the globe but it has also given a reason for international cooperation, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Thursday at a Paris Peace Forum virtual session.

      "The COVID-19 pandemic has made diplomacy much more difficult but it has also created a powerful reason for international cooperation," Maas said during the Alliance for Multilateralism's session at the forum.

      The German foreign minister restated the results of the alliance's most recent meeting in September, which saw officials agree to ensure the fair and equal distribution of safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

      Maas also said that the alliance had prepared concrete proposals to enhance the World Health Organization's (WHO) resilience, preparedness, and capacity.

      Citing US President Donald Trump's clashes with the WHO, Maas said that he hoped the recent US presidential election, which saw Democratic candidate Joe Biden declared the winner by media outlets, would lead to a change in Washington's policy.

      "After the US election last week, I'm hopeful that we can once again count on our American friends in this important endeavor," the foreign minister said.

      Maas added that the alliance was seeking to apply the so-called one health approach, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown "how closely human, animal, and planetary health are linked."

    • 09:51

      German Authorities Warn Companies Researching COVID-19 of Possible Cyberattacks

      The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has warned the companies engaged in research to tackle the coronavirus pandemic about possible cyberattacks, the office told the Funke media group.

      The BfV has reportedly been working for several months on a package of measures to prevent possible espionage attacks on firms and scientific institutions that research vaccines, drugs and other innovations to combat the COVID-19 epidemic. In particular, the BfV has warned relevant companies and research facilities about the possibility of hacker attacks by foreign intelligence services.

      Earlier, an official from the German Federal Office for Information Security confirmed that the website of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's national institute for disease control, was a target of a DDoS cyberattack on October 22.

    • 08:34

      Argentina to Produce Up to 250Mln Doses of Oxford's COVID-19 Vaccine

      Argentinian laboratory Mabxience will produce between 150 and 250 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Argentinian businessman Hugo Sigman, a Mabxcience stakeholder, said.

      "AstraZeneca has ordered us 150 million doses minimum and 250 million doses maximum," Sigman said on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

      The order will depend on the clinical trials that give positive results and the vaccine's approval by the corresponding regulatory agencies, including Argentina's National Administration of Drugs, Food and Medical Technology.

      The Argentinian laboratory intends to produce the active ingredient of the vaccine that will be further sent to Mexico, where the Liomont laboratory will be responsible for its package.

      AstraZeneca will distribute the vaccine from Mexico to all Latin American countries except Brazil, which has a separate agreement.

      According to Sigman, the price will be four dollars that are substantially lower than the vaccine price of other companies.

    • 08:25

      Japan Set to Maintain Restrictions on Event Crowds Until Feb. Amid COVID-19 Fears, Reports Say

      The Japanese government is expected to extend the current restrictions on live event crowds, which currently allow for no more than 50 percent of places to be filled, until February amid fears of a surge in new COVID-19 cases, the Kyodo News agency reports on Thursday.

      The agency cited Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's minister in charge of economic revitalization, who said that there was a "sense of crisis" over the potential future spread of the coronavirus disease in Japan.

      The measures, which see attendance at live sporting events capped at 50 percent of the venue's capacity, were initially set to expire on November 30 but will now likely be extended into 2021 over fears that falling temperatures and low humidity could help the disease to spread, the agency stated.

      "If the spread of infection continues we will have to take stronger measures," Nishimura said, as quoted by the agency.

      The Japanese government has conducted multiple test events at baseball stadiums to monitor the impact of holding live sporting events with near-capacity crowds.

      Japan is set to host the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this coming summer. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to prevent the widespread transmission of COVID-19 at the event.

    • 07:49

      Russia Registers 21,608 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

      Russia has registered 21,608 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 19,851 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,858,568, the federal response center said on Thursday.

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 21,608 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 5,571 (25.8 percent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said, adding that the case count has reached 1,858,568.

      Moscow reported 5,997 COVID-19 cases, up from 4,477 yesterday. This is the highest daily increase of all Russia's regions, followed by St. Petersburg with 1,667 cases (up from 1,574 yesterday) and Moscow region with 729 cases (up from 701 yesterday).

      The response center reported a new single-day record of 439 coronavirus fatalities, up from 432 yesterday, raising the country’s death toll to 32,032.

      The daily discharges also hit a new record, as 18,811 coronavirus patients were confirmed to have recovered, up from 18,616 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,388,168.

    • 06:52

      WHO Experts Privately Critique COVID19 Responses, Calling Them ‘Unfortunate Lab’, Reports Suggest

      The World Health Organization (WHO) has been shying away from publicly voicing its concerns about governments’ approaches towards dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reports citing recordings of private WHO meetings.

      One of the scientists in the meetings, emergencies chief Dr. Michael Ryan, said that the countries’ approaches to tackling the spread of COVID-19 were going to be "a massive ecological study." "It’s macabre in some ways, but it’s reality," he said.

      WHO officials have expressed worry in their internal meetings about a lack of information on COVID-19 outbreaks from multiple states, mostly European countries. All of the organization’s efforts to get more detailed information have failed.

      Also in private, WHO officials have complained about western countries hoarding pandemic supplies and having demonstrated "alarming levels of inaction" at the beginning of the pandemic, the Associated Press said.

      In private internal meetings in the early days of the pandemic, top WHO scientists described some countries’ approaches as "an unfortunate laboratory to study the virus."

      Despite the criticism expressed in private meetings, the WHO has avoided making public critical statements, despite the fact that major donors such as Japan, France and Britain have made repeated mistakes in dealing with COVID-19, leaked recordings of internal WHO meetings and documents from January to April obtained by the Associated Press show.

      Some WHO officials have said that member states need to give the agency more power and the ability to censure countries, something that has been supported by Germany and France.

    • 06:31

      Ukrainian President Zelensky Hospitalised Due to COVID-19, Reports Suggest

    • 05:10

      Germany Reports 21,866 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:35

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 47,905 to Over 8.68Mln

      India has confirmed 47,905 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 8,683,917, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 128,121 people, with 550 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 8 million people have recovered in India since the start of the outbreak.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States with more than 10.39 million COVID-19 patients.

      A day earlier, India registered 44,281 new COVID-19 cases, with 512 fatalities.

    • 04:35

      Finnair Suspends Flights to China Over COVID-19 Incidence Rise

      Finland's flag carrier Finnair will suspend flights to China's Nanjing from November 20 and cancel a flight to Shanghai on November 19 due to a rise in the COVID-19 incidence, the airline said in a statement.

      The Civil Aviation Administration of China announced on June 4 that it would allow foreign airlines to operate a maximum of one flight per week. Certain conditions have been established for air transportation to China: if, after landing, five infected passengers are detected on one flight, the airline's flights should be suspended for one week. Ten infections will entail a suspension for four weeks.

      "We will suspend our flights between Helsinki and Nanjing in China temporarily from 20 November 2020 onwards due to the policy regarding the threshold for coronavirus cases detected following a 2-week quarantine after entry to China," Finnair said.

      "We continue to operate to Shanghai once weekly, but our flight on 19 November and the return flight on 21 November will be cancelled.  We are sorry for the harm this situation may cause you," it said.

      Finnair is Finland's largest airline, founded in 1923, part of the OneWorld alliance. The controlling stake belongs to the state.

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