10:54 GMT18 January 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (274)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 1.447 million, over 61,90 million cases of the infection have been detected, and over 42,7 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 coronavirus case count in the world; 13,427,327 have contracted the virus there, 270,783 have died from COVID-19 there and 7,919,738 have recovered.

    India and Brazil, which come next in the list of the most-affected countries, have reached 9,349,285 and 6,238,350 cases in total, respectively.

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    • 00:01

      New Los Angeles County Public Health Officials Order Prohibits all Public and Private Meetings Among Individuals from Different Households, Except Religious Services and Protests, Till December 20

    • 23:56

      Los Angeles County Public Health Officials Announce New Stay-at-Home Order to Start on Monday Amid Surge in Coronavirus Rate

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      LA County Public Health Officials Announce New Stay-at-Home Order Citing COVID-19 Cases Rise

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    • 22:11

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in US Surpasses 13 Million - Johns Hopkins University

      The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States has exceeded 13 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

      The exact number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States stood at 13,047,202 as of 22:15 GMT on Friday. More than 264,000 people have died of the disease in the country since the start of the pandemic.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 61.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.44 million fatalities, JHU says.

    • 21:06

      Brazil Confirms 34,130 New COVID-19 Cases and 514 Deaths

    • 19:05

      High Storage Cost of Ultra-Cold COVID-19 Vaccines Should Not Hinder Use, WHO Official Says

      The troublesome storing conditions of some candidate coronavirus vaccines and the associated high costs should not discourage countries from adopting them as an immunization means, Kate O'Brien, the director for Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Friday.

      "Every country is going to have to work very hard and is going to have to innovate around systems to actually deliver vaccines that do have an ultra-cold chain. And part of the approach that many countries may take is to choose to use vaccines that require an ultra-cold chain for only certain portions of the population that need to be vaccinated," O'Brien said at a virtual briefing.

      As an example, she said such vaccines could be used to inoculate health care workers at facilities in which installing a freezer with ultra-low temperatures would not be an issue.

      "So I think the main message is that we do have the technology, there is demonstrated experience of delivering ultra-cold chain vaccines, even in some of the most difficult and remote areas, but that has also taken enormous resources to do that. So what we do need is a variety of vaccines that have different characteristics," the official added.

      Most of the promising candidate vaccines currently completing phase 3 clinical trials belong to the so-called cold-chain category, meaning that they need to be stored and transported at a certain temperature above which the efficacy would be jeopardized.

      Pfizer's mRNA-based vaccine needs to be stored in as cold of an environment as -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit). Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, built on human adenovirus, requires at least -18 degrees Celsius. Moderna's mRNA-based vaccine can be stored at normal refrigeration temperature from 2-8 degrees Celsius but only for a month, while a longer storage period requires a lower temperature.

      All three candidate vaccines have proven to be over 90 percent efficient so far.

    • 19:04

      WHO Interested in Best Practices, Clinical Data on Vaccines Getting Emergency Use Approval

      Mariangela Simao, the World Health Organization's (WHO) assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said on Friday that the exchange of clinical data and best practices of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing remained crucial, especially with those vaccine candidates which were in the process of getting emergency use authorization.

      "We have mentioned weeks before that WHO has issued an expression of interest to assess for emergency use listing candidate vaccines on phase 2 and phase 3, and this expression is still open. ... we still have to see not only the clinical data but also the good manufacturing practices data that are part of when a country does an emergency use authorization or WHO does an emergency use listing," Simao said.

      She added that there were several advanced vaccine candidates, and their developers had already engaged in information exchange with WHO.

      There are currently as many as 48 candidate vaccines on the WHO's list. Some manufacturers have already begun releasing the interim results of phase 3 trials. Russia's Sputnik V, as well as candidate vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have all reported over 90 percent efficacy, according to preliminary data. The average efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine totals 70 percent, interim analysis shows.

    • 19:03

      Hungary Expects Small Batches of Russian Vaccine Sputnik V in December, Foreign Minister Says

      First small batches of Russian vaccine Sputnik V are expected to be delivered to Hungary in December, and larger consignments in January, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sijjarto said on Friday.

      "The Russian health minister said that in December we may begin to receive small batches of vaccine from Russia, larger batches will be available in the last decade of January. But since the situation is very non-standard, it is difficult to indicate the exact volumes of supplies and exact dates," he told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

    • 19:00

      WHO Facing $500Mln Funding Gap for Rollout of Rapid Antigen Tests for COVID-19, Tedros Says

      The World Health Organization (WHO) is facing a funding gap of $500 million to maximize the use of rapid antigen tests for COVID-19, the organization's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Friday.

      During a virtual WHO press briefing, Tedros said that the organization issued the first emergency use listing for rapid antigen tests for COVID-19, which can provide a result in just 15 minutes, back in September.

      The WHO and its partners initially agreed to purchase 120 million rapid antigen testing kits for distribution to 68 low- and middle-income countries, Tedros said, adding that further funds were required to ensure the initiative was successful.

      "But nearly two months later, we still face a funding gap of $500 million to maximize the use of rapid tests. As vaccines are rolled out, testing will continue to play a vital role," Tedros remarked.

      In a September press release, the WHO director-general said that rapid antigen tests offer the chance to identify hidden or asymptomatic cases, which will be crucial in "breaking the chains of transmission." The agreement to distribute the rapid antigen tests was made through the WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

      The WHO and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics have launched a global package aimed at training medical workers who will subsequently be tasked with using the rapid antigen test kits.

       

    • 18:58

      Group That Got Half-Dose in AstraZeneca Vaccine Trial Too Small to Make Conclusions, WHO Says

      A group of people who received a half-dose first followed by a full dose in the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine trials is too small to make conclusions about this dosing regimen’s efficacy, the World Health Organization's (WHO) chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, said on Friday.

      On Monday, AstraZeneca released interim results of its candidate vaccine showing two different levels of efficacy depending on the dosing regimen. Efficacy in patients administered two full doses one month apart was 62 percent, while in those administered a half-dose and then a full dose, it reached 90 percent. The company later admitted that the regimen with a higher efficacy had actually been a result of a dosing mistake.

      "It appears that less than 3,000 people were given the schedule with the half-dose followed by the full dose of the vaccine. And we also understand that those people were all under 55, so it didn't have anyone over 55 in that group, whereas the other group of about 8,000+ people were given the full dose and the full dose. Actually, there were larger numbers and it also included different age groups. So it's very hard to compare these two groups and I would say the numbers are still small to really come to any definitive conclusions," Swaminathan told a virtual press briefing.

      The WHO’s top immunization expert, Katherine O’Brien, agreed that the global health agency needs to see more data than a press release and "have a chance to ask the questions that are needed."

      "There is, first of all, only limited amount that can be said in a press release and, secondly, it really needs to be reviewed in terms of the data and questions asked about the data that come up in the course of the review. So it's difficult to weigh in on this," O'Brien, the chief of the department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said.

      According to the expert, "from what we understand about the press release, there is certainly something interesting that has been observed, but there are many reasons that could underlie the differences that were observed."

      The WHO therefore needs more information, including evaluations of the immune response in the trial, the expert added, concluding that "it's too early for us to say anything about what we make of the data and what is needed next."

      After the dosing regimen error was revealed, CEO Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg that AstraZeneca would need to run an additional clinical trial to validate "what looks like a better efficacy" of a lower dosage.

    • 18:56

      Hungary Eager to Produce Sputnik V, But 1.5 Years Needed to Organise It, Foreign Ministry Says

      The Hungarian authorities would be glad if they could establish the production of Russian vaccine Sputnik V in the country, but it will take up to a year and a half, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sijjarto said on Friday.

      “Of course, it would be great if part of the production could be deployed in Hungary, but I cannot say whether this will happen. We would be glad if this happened. But this is a technological issue. ... Companies say that it may take up to one and a half years to introduce new Russian vaccine production technology," he told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

      The possible production of the vaccine was discussed by representatives of local pharmaceutical companies with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, who is on a visit to Hungary, Sijjarto said.

      "We will see if this time can be shortened. If so much time is needed, then, of course, it is not competitive. And then we will have to concentrate only on purchases," the minister added.

      First small batches of Russian vaccine Sputnik V are expected to be delivered to Hungary in December, and larger consignments in January, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sijjarto said on Friday.

      "The Russian health minister said that in December we may begin to receive small batches of vaccine from Russia, larger batches will be available in the last decade of January. But since the situation is very non-standard, it is difficult to indicate the exact volumes of supplies and exact dates," he told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

    • 17:25

      Modelling Studies Show 60-70% People Need to Be COVID-19 Immune to Curb Transmission, WHO Says

      Modelling studies indicate that some 60-70 percent of people would need to be immune to COVID-19 to weaken or halt the virus transmission, the World Health Organization's (WHO) top immunization expert, Dr. Katherine O’Brien, said on Friday.

      Speaking at a virtual press briefing, O'Brien, the chief of the department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said that the WHO cannot say at the moment "the proportion of the population that would need to be immunized" because the health agency has not observed that yet.

      "But the answer to that can come from modelling studies that would tell us, under certain conditions, what proportion of the population would need to be immunized. And so these modelling studies, a number of them have been done, and under a variety of conditions have concluded that somewhere around 60 to 70 percent of the population would need to be immune, presumably through immunization, in order to achieve a reduction or an interruption of transmission of the virus," she added.

      At present, there are 48 candidate vaccines on the WHO's list. Some manufacturers have already begun releasing the interim results of phase 3 trials of their candidate vaccines. Russia's Sputnik V, as well as candidate vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have all reported over 90 percent efficacy, according to the preliminary data. The average efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine totals 70 percent, interim analysis shows.

    • 16:49

      WHO Says Just Four Countries Account For 70% of Global COVID-19 Cases, Deaths

    • 16:48

      Moroccan Health Minister Plans to Discuss Sputnik V With Russian Counterpart Next Week

      Moroccan Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb said on Friday he was planning to hold negotiations with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko on Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V next week.

      "Concerning Russian vaccine Sputnik V, I have recently met with the representative of the producer personally in Morocco. As for now, next week I am planning to negotiate with the Russian health minister to discuss non-replicating viral vector vaccine Sputnik V, developed by the Russian Gamaleya research center," Ait Taleb said on Friday.

      The minister added that Morocco had already decided to purchase COVID-19 vaccines produced by China's Sinopharm and UK-Swedish AstraZeneca, which were expected to arrive in the country in December, but the country continued to negotiate with other pharmaceutical companies.

      "During the negotiations, we have selected several producers and, finally, opted for Chinese laboratory Sinopharm and Sinopharm and British-Swedish AstraZeneca. Their vaccines' clinical trials are very convincing. If everything is well, we will receive first arrivals by December. The negotiations on other laboratories are still continuing," Ait Taleb said.

      In August, Russia became the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, which was named Sputnik V. The clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya research institute, have demonstrated that its efficacy rate is over 90 percent.

      According to the World Health Organization, Morocco has confirmed 340,684 COVID-19 cases, with 5,619 deaths. Over the past 24 hours, the country has recorded 4,178 new infections.

    • 15:41

      Belgium To Follow France and Re-Open COVID19-Closed Shops on 1 December, Report Says

    • 15:11

      Peru Extends State of Emergency Over COVID-19 Until 6 March, Government Says

    • 14:35

      Not the Right Time: Population Census Postponed in Germany Amid Pandemic

      People stand in-between an art installation with 111 mannequins on Marienplatz calling for more mindfulness and appreciation in times of corona as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Munich, Germany, November 18, 2020

      Germany Postpones Scheduled May 2021 Population Census for One Year Due to COVID-19

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - Germany has decided to postpone for one year a population census planned for May 2021 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s press office said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 14:30

      Moldova Declares State of Emergency Because of COVID-19 From 30 Nov to 15 Jan, Cabinet Says

      Moldova is introducing a state of emergency in healthcare sector starting on November 30 and until January 15, the cabinet press service said Friday.

      "The national commission on public health decided to introduce the emergency state in public healthcare from November 30 to January 15," the cabinet said.

    • 14:05

      WHO Europe Chief Calls for Political Engagement to Ensure Effective COVID-19 Vaccination

      The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge on Friday called on member states of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (IPA CIS) Council to be more politically engaged to ensure the effective vaccination against COVID-19.

      "To protect our society as much as possible, we need well-designed laws ... As the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine becomes a reality, I urge you to use all available tools to ensure effective and transparent implementation of strategic vaccination," Kluge said at a meeting of the IPA CIS Council.

      The official added that the WHO Regional Office for Europe would continue to provide necessary assistance both during and after the pandemic.

      "To support the work in your countries on this front in the current crisis, WHO has provided more than 600 recommendations, attracted expert groups, provided medical workers, medical equipment," Kluge noted, adding that political engagement was also essential for successful health investments.

      At present, there are 48 candidate vaccines on the World Health Organization's list. Some manufacturers have already begun releasing the interim results of the phase three trials of their candidate vaccines. Russia's Sputnik V, as well as candidate vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have all reported over 90 percent efficacy, according to the preliminary data. The average efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine totals 70 percent, interim analysis shows.

    • 14:02

      Russia Registers Repeat Coronavirus Infections, Health Minister Says

      Russia has registered cases of repeat coronavirus infections in the same person, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said.

      When asked if there had been repeat infections in the country, the minister said: "Yes, it was published."

      The Covid-19 epidemic in Russia may end in 2021, the country is working hard to achieve this, Murashko also said.

      "We are doing everything to achieve that," the minister said when asked if the end of the epidemic could be expected as soon as next year.

    • 12:22

      Spain to Inoculate 2.5Mln People in Сare Homes in First COVID Vaccination Phase

      Spain will vaccinate about 2.5 million people working and residing in care homes in the first phase of inoculations against COVID-19, which will last from January to March, Health Minister Salvador Illa said at a briefing on Friday.

      According to the minister, all citizens of the country will be divided into 15 groups to start vaccination against COVID-19, which will be held in three phases.

      The second phase will last from March to June and the third will be held during the summer.

      According to the minister, the groups have been divided based on the criteria of mortality risk, exposure to disease, socioeconomic impact and disease transmission.

      To date, Spain has registered over 1.6 million positive COVID-19 cases, including 44,374 people who have died.

    • 12:12

      Vietnam Records 8 Imported COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:47

      Malaysia Reports 1,109 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 11:42

      Romania Reports 8,499 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:24

      Kyrgyzstan Reports 402 New COVID-19 Infections

    • 11:09

      Switzerland Reports 4,312 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 10:34

      Hong Kong's COVID-19 Case Tally Surpasses 6,000

    • 09:55

      Moscow to Open 12 New CT Centers for COVID-19 Patients

      A further 12 computerized tomography (CT) centers will open in Moscow to serve patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, Anastasia Rakova, the deputy mayor of the Russian capital, said on Friday, adding that paramedics will also be issued with antiviral drugs to deliver during home visits.

      "At present, clinics and outpatient care facilities are under a special load. We have taken a number of measures aimed at strengthening outpatient facilities. Firstly, we have decided to open an additional 12 new CT centers. They will provide care, including full diagnostic services and the dispatch of medication, to patients around the clock who have tested positive for the coronavirus disease," Rakova said at a press briefing.

      The deputy mayor added that paramedics will also be issued with antiviral drugs to give to patients with COVID-19 if the need arises.

      "It has also been decided to give antiviral drugs to on-call paramedics as well. In the case of when a person refuses hospitalization, or their condition does not require hospitalization, paramedics can issue the drugs in order to reduce the time for treatment to be delivered and also not to waste time waiting for a doctor from a clinic to arrive," Rakova stated.

      On Friday, Russia registered a new single-day record of 27,543 cases of COVID-19. This figure includes the 7,918 positive tests recorded in Moscow.

      Russia's COVID-19 case total now stands in excess of 2.21 million.

    • 09:32

      Russian Armed Forces Begin Mass COVID-19 Vaccination to Cover 400,000 Servicemen

      Russia has begun mass coronavirus vaccination among its armed forces personnel, planning to inoculate more than 400,000 servicemen, Defenсe Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

      "In line with the president's instruction, mass vaccination of the armed forces personnel against the novel coronavirus has begun. The plan is to vaccinate over 400,000 servicemen in total," Shoigu said at a ministerial meeting.

      According to the minister, the number of already vaccinated Russian servicemen is over 2,500 at the moment and is expected to reach 80,000 by the year-end.

      The Russian military is also researching how the plasma of vaccinated servicemen with high titers of antibodies can be used to cure COVID-19, Shoigu said.

      "This method has already displayed efficiency in grave forms of the disease. At the moment, more than 500 vaccinated servicemen participate in the study," the minister said.

    • 08:56

      Russia’s EpiVacCorona Vaccine Helps Create Immunity 1 Month After Inoculation, Developer Says

      Russia’s EpiVacCorona Vaccine Helps Create Immunity 1 Month After Inoculation, Developer Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The EpiVacCorona vaccine against the coronavirus, developed by Russia's Vector research centre, creates immunity one month after the inoculation, Alexander Ryzhikov, the head of the centre's zoonotic diseases and flu department, said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 08:46

      Indonesia Reports 5,828 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 08:41

      Danish Health Ministry Developing COVID-19 'Vaccine Passport' With 'Endless Possibilities'

      A view of the Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark

      Danish Health Ministry Developing COVID-19 'Vaccine Passport' With 'Endless Possibilities'

      While it is so far unknown what kind of privileges will be attached to the future vaccine passport, this step has been welcomed by industrialists and politicians alike.
      Read more
    • 08:19

      Lithuania Reports 2,339 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:10

      Armenia Reports 1,476 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 07:40

      Russia Registers New Record of Over 27,000 COVID-19 Cases in 24 Hours

      Russia has registered 27,543 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 25,487 the day before, breaking the record for the second consecutive day and bringing the total to 2,215,533, the federal response centre said on Friday.

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 27,543 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 6,241 (22.6 percent) were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 2,215,533.

      Moscow, which accounts for most of the new cases, confirmed a record single-day increase of 7,918 COVID-19 cases, up from 6,075 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 3,687 cases (up from 3,669 the day before) and the Moscow region with 1,058 cases (up from 1,022 the day before).

      The response center reported 496 coronavirus fatalities, down from 524 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 38,558.

      Record 26,682 coronavirus patients were confirmed to have recovered, up from 25,073 the day before, bringing the total to 1,712,174.

    • 07:16

      Cuba Starts Clinical Trials of Two New Domestic Vaccines Against COVID-19

      The Cuban Center for State Control of Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices approved the launch of clinical trials of two COVID-19 candidate vaccines developed by the Cuban Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), CIGB Director Eulogio Pimentel Vazquez said.

      "The clinical trials of candidate vaccines Mambisa and Abdala have been approved. After a thorough review of the presented dossier that included the evidence of the results of the pharmaceutical development and animal trials," Doctor Pimental wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

      According to the CIGB, the Mambisa vaccine will be injected through the nose to examine the immune response at the mucous level. The aim of the Abdala vaccine trial is to evaluate its safety in the first phase and its immune response capacity in the second phase.

      Apart from Mambisa and Abdala vaccines, Cuba is conducting clinical trials of two other domestic vaccines. Earlier in August, Cuban Finlay Institute started developing Soberana 01 vaccine, with trials expected to be finished in January 2021. At the end of October, the state control authority approved the first phase trials of the Soberana 02 vaccine against the coronavirus disease.

    • 06:22

      Ukraine Reports 16,218 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 06:20

      Russia's RDIF Agreed on Producing 100Mln Doses of Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine in India

      Russia's RDIF Agreed on Producing 100Mln Doses of Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine in India

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Friday that it reached an agreement with India's pharmaceutical company Hetero on producing over 100 million doses of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V per year in India.
      Read more
    • 05:51

      Japan’s COVID-19 Response Centre Calls on Government to Toughen Restrictions

      Japanese authorities should impose targeted anti-coronavirus measures, including a partial ban on movement between regions and shorter opening hours for cafes and restaurants, Shigeru Omi, the head of the central government's panel on virus countermeasures, said on Friday.

      "In addition to the personal efforts of people, it is necessary to reduce the opening hours of catering establishments, to reduce the movement of people between areas with high and low infection rates," Omi said, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

      Omi has addressed lawmakers amid a recent surge in COVID-19 infections across Japan — the case tally increased by over 2,500 on Thursday and surpassed 141,000.

    • 05:32

      Mongolia Reports 26 More COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:21

      New Zealand Reports 7 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:00

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Germany Surpasses 1 Million

      Germany has confirmed 22,806 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 1,006,394, the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

      The death toll has grown by 426 to 15,586 people within the same period of time. More than 696,000 patients have recovered from the disease.

    • 04:55

      Japan Cancels Emperor's New Year Event Due to COVID-19

      "We have decided not to hold (the event) from the viewpoint of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus," Japan's Imperial Household Agency said on its website on Friday.

    • 04:55

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 43,082 to Over 9.3Mln

      India has confirmed 43,082 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 9,309,788, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 135,715 people, with 492 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 8.71 million people have recovered in India since the start of the outbreak.

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