06:11 GMT21 January 2021
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    As countries across the world continue to grapple with the healthcare crisis and related economic fallout, the debate has centered around what await the public in the run-up to the Christmas holidays, and how the festivities, if any, will be organised.

    Another 19,609 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally of those infected across the country to 1,430,341, as per the UK's health authorities. 

    The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 529 to 53,274, the data indicated.

    Earlier Wednesday, a Downing Street spokesman said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a "clear intent to allow families to spend Christmas together", admitting though that this year's holiday will "not be a normal" one.

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    • 01:33

      First COVID-19 Case Recorded in Samoa - Prime Minister

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Samoa has registered the first case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Samoa Observer reported citing Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

      Malielegaoi said a sailor in a quarantine facility, who had flown to Samoa from Auckland last Friday, had tested positive.

      The prime minister said the second test had been negative.

      Malielegaoi said the patient was currently in isolation at a hospital.

      Only a few island states such as Tonga and Nauru are free of coronavirus so far.

    • 00:59

      Minnessota Governor Orders In-Person Dining Paused, Gyms Closed, Gatherings Cancelled For Four Weeks

    • 23:30

      US Health Secretary Says 40Mln Coronavirus Vaccine Doses Ready by January If Approved

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Health Secretary Alex Azar says up to 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses will be ready for rollout by the end of December pending approval.

      "By the end of December, we expect to have about 40 million doses of these vaccines available for distribution, pending FDA [Food and Drug Administration] authorization," Azar told reporters on Wednesday.

      The number of doses will allow up to 20 million Americans to be vaccinated shortly thereafter, Azar stated, with vulnerable individuals being given priority.

      It is anticipated that the vaccines will be procured from either Pfizer and co-collaborators BioNTech or Moderna. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, said that the two vaccines will be filed for emergency approval in near future.

      The Health Secretary said he expects that the two vaccine candidates will be approved within weeks. The vaccine will be ready for distribution within 24 hours after approval, Operation Warp Speed chief operations officer Army Gen. Gustave Perna said.

    • 22:47

      All NYC Schools to Close From Thursday as COVID Infection Rate Soars

      All NYC Schools to Close From Thursday as COVID Infection Rate Soars

      Some 300,000 children in New York City will go back to learning from home, just eight weeks after schools reopened for the first time since the initial peak of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Bill de Blasio denied that teaching unions had dictated the trigger threshold of infection rates.
      Read more
    • 22:44

      Two More Republican Congressmen Test Positive for Coronavirus - Statements

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Two more Republican members of the US House of Representatives, Dan Newhouse and Doug Lamborn, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the lawmakers announced in statements.

      "I began to feel a little run down yesterday, so I took a COVID-19 test," Newhouse said via Twitter on Wednesday. "Last night [Tuesday], the results came back positive for the virus. My symptoms remain mild ... I am quarantining and will continue to serve the people of Central Washington from home."

      Lamborne has also tested positive and is experiencing mild symptoms, his office announced in a press release also on Wednesday.

      “Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms. He has been in contact with the US House Attending Physician and is following all CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines and isolating at his home in Colorado Springs," the announcement said.

    • 22:32

      US Senator Tests Positive for COVID-19 Antibodies After Joining Pfizer Vaccine Trial

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Senator Steve Daines, who participated in a trial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, said he has now acquired antibodies against the coronavirus in a press release.

      "While this was a blind trial, I have since tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies," Daines said Wednesday.

      Daines said he and his wife, Cindy, decided to participate in the trial with more than 100 others from his home state of Montana.

      "My goal is to help build confidence and trust for Montanans and the American people wondering if they should take the vaccine when it is approved. This is about saving lives. This is about supporting our healthcare heroes," Daines added.

    • 22:32

      COVID-19 Global Case Tally Tops 56 Million - Johns Hopkins University

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The global case tally of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has surpassed 56 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

      The university said the number of coronavirus cases worldwide currently stood at 56,051,621, with 1,345,851 deaths.

      A total of 35,969,779 people have recovered from COVID-19 worldwide, it said.

    • 18:59

      Assange Put Into Lockdown After COVID-19 Outbreak in UK Prison, Reports Say

      LONDON, (Sputnik) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been put into lockdown in his cell after a COVID-19 outbreak at the London prison where he is awaiting the judgment from an extradition trial to the United States, the UK media reported on Friday.

      According to the Daily Mail tabloid, the whistleblower and a number of inmates at Belmarsh, in south east London, have received a letter from the prison governor notifying them about the coronavirus outbreak.

      Assange has been held in prison since his arrest at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in April 2019.

      The extradition hearing ended at London´s Old Bailey court on 1 October and the judgment will be handed down on 4 January, 2021, but depending on the outcome, it is possible that the case will go to several UK courts before it is concluded.

      The US Department of Justice is seeking the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder on 17 espionage charges and on one count of computer misuse, which carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison, for the publication of classified information on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and thousands of US diplomatic cables between 2010 and 2011.

    • 18:57

      Turkey Reports 4,215 New COVID-19 Infections, 425,628 in Total

    • 17:23

      UK Clocks 19,609 New Coronavirus Cases, 529 Deaths

    • 17:09

      Pfizer to Seek Emergency Approval for Its COVID-19 Vaccine

      Pfizer Inc is determined to seek emergency US approval for its newly developed COVID-19 vaccine within days after final trial results showed its shot had a 95% efficacy rate and no serious side effects, the drugmaker announced on Wednesday.

    • 10:46

      Russia's Vector to Complete Trials of EpiVacCorona COVID-19 Vaccine in June - Ministry

      MOSCOW, (Sputnik) -Russia's research center Vector has received the Health Ministry's authorization for post-registration trials of its EpiVacCorona vaccine against COVID-19, the trials should be completed on 15 June, according to the ministry's clinical trials register.

      "A multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled comparative randomized study of the acceptability, safety, immunogenicity and efficiency of the peptide antigen-based EpiVacCorona vaccine for COVID-19 prevention, with participation of 3,000 volunteers aged 18 and more (III-IV phase) ... Start: November 18, 2020, end: June 15, 2021," the document reads.

    • 09:40

      Dutch Authorities Relax Some Coronavirus Measures After Decline in Contagion, Reports Say

      The Dutch authorities have relaxed some coronavirus-related restrictive measures starting from Wednesday after registering a decline in COVID-19 contagion across the country, local media reported.

      "The figures are still too high, but the trend is downward, which is positive. The figures show that the measures are working, or actually that our behavior is working," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference as quoted by the media outlet.

      Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, on his part said that one specific national goal was to reduce the number of coronavirus infections from about 4,000 daily to about 1,200.

      Starting from Wednesday, the restrictions introduced on November 4 will be removed, however the country will continue to live in the regime of a partial lockdown. The government is yet to lay down the rules that would be in place during Christmas and New Year's Eve.

    • 09:35

      Russia's Vector Develops Three More COVID-19 Vaccines Apart From EpiVacCorona, Watchdog Says

      State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector

      Russia's Vector Develops Three More COVID-19 Vaccines Apart From EpiVacCorona, Watchdog Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's research centre Vector is developing three coronavirus vaccines apart from the one that has been already registered, they are in different phases of trials, the country's consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said on Wednesday.
      Read more
    • 08:21

      Russia Registers 20,985 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

      Russia has registered 20,985 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, down from 22,410 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,991,998, the federal response center said on Wednesday.

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 20,985 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 5,094 (24.3 percent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said, adding that the case count has reached 1,991,998.

      Moscow reported 4,174 COVID-19 cases, down from 5,882 yesterday. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 2,215 cases (up from 2,130 yesterday) and the Moscow region with 864 cases (up from 839 yesterday).

      The response center reported 456 coronavirus fatalities, up from 442 yesterday, raising the country's death toll to 34,387 and breaking record for the second day in a row.

      The recoveries also hit a new record for the second consecutive day, as 25,179 coronavirus patients were confirmed to have recovered, up from 22,055 yesterday, bringing the total to 1,501,083.

    • 06:50

      India Starts Random COVID-19 Tests for People Coming From Delhi

    • 06:50

      Germany Earmarks Extra $1.2Bln to Support Car Manufacturers Through Pandemic

      Germany will add an additional 1 million euros ($1.2 billion) to the previously earmarked support package of 2 million euros for its automotive industry, the German government said in a press release following the meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel with heads of federal states and industry representatives.

      "Transformations in the car industry is the central task of our social and industrial policy that can only be solved by joining forces. We need cooperation among the federal, state and regional levels, as well as among the businesses, unions, the science and politics. Therefore, the federal government establishes the subsidized 'Automotive Industry Future Fund' and allocates an additional 1 billion euros toward this end," the press release read.

      A 2-billion-euro support package was pledged to German carmakers in state subsidies earlier this year under a program designed to encourage greener production specifically. The cabinet has now called for an immediate implementation of the program in order to "set in motion a sustainable, technologically inclusive and employment-friendly transformation of the automotive industry," with a special focus on regional transformation strategies and skill building for employees.

      Noting the "first signs of recovery" of the car industry after an acute drop of sales in the year's first half, the German government told manufacturers that all liquidity tools created during the pandemic would remain available to them.

    • 06:24

      Ukraine Reports Record Daily Coronavirus Death Tally of 256

    • 05:51

      US Health Authority Approves 1st Self-Testing Kit for COVID-19

      The US Food and Drug Administration has announced authorization for the first self-testing kit for COVID-19, which can be administered at home.

      "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home and that provides rapid results. The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular (real-time loop mediated amplification reaction) single use test that is intended to detect the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19," the FDA said in a statement.

      The test works by analyzing a self-collected nasal swab within approximately 30 minutes. The test is designated to be used by people who are 14 or older. It is said to be authorized for prescription use only.

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    Live Updates: UK Clocks 19,609 New Coronavirus Cases, 529 Deaths
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