12:07 GMT18 January 2021
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus is now over 1.5 million, while the overall tally is more than 65 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. The spike in the number of infections caused several countries to impose quarantines in November, however, most are expected to end their lockdowns this month, before Christmas.

    Among the most affected nations are the US (14.1 million infected, 276,000 deaths), India (9.5 million cases, 138,000 fatalities), and Brazil (6.4 million cases, and a death toll of over 175,000).

    In the meantime, several countries have announced anti-coronavirus vaccinations, with the UK and Russia being the first on the list, using their vaccines - the Pfizer/BioNTech medication and Sputnik V respectively.

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    • 02:10

      Mexico Registers Record 12,127 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Mexico has registered 12,127 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The total number of coronavirus cases has reached 1,156,770, the ministry said on late Friday.

      The death toll has risen by 690 to 108,863 people within the same period of time.

    • 23:32

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Brazil Surpasses 6.5 Million – Health Ministry

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 46,884 to 6,533,968 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.

      The death toll has risen by 694 to 175,964 people within the same period of time. More than 5.7 million have recovered in Brazil since the start of the outbreak.

    • 23:17

      San Francisco Issues COVID-19 Lockdown Effective December 6 to January 4, Mayor Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that she has issued a stay-at-home order for all of the county effective Sunday through January 6.

      "San Francisco, along with other Bay Area counties, is opting in to the Governor's regional Stay at Home Order effective Sunday at 10:00 p.m.," Breed said via Twitter on Friday.

      Breed said area hospitals are on pace to reach full capacity by at least December 25 amid the increase in novel coronavirus cases.

      The Mayor added that she is aware the lockdown will impact local businesses and employees, but underscored that this decision was inevitable.

      The city said it will temporarily ban outdoor dining, indoor gyms, drive-in gatherings, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor family entertainment centers, and open-air bus and boat operators. Grocery stores must reduce their capacity restrictions to 20 percent.

    • 20:43

      Almost All Patients With COVID-19 Develop Immune Response - WHO

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Almost 100 percent of COVID-19 patients develop antibodies no matter the course of the disease, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO expert on epidemiology, said Friday.

      "What we understand is 90 to 100 percent of people who are infected with the virus do develop an antibody response, whether you have mild infection or asymptomatic infection all the way to severe infection. And we're still learning how long that antibody response lasts, how strong it is, how it relates to immunity from another infection and how long that lasts," Van Kerkhove told a virtual press briefing.

    • 20:34

      Bahrain Becomes 2d Country to Authorize Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Bahrain has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, becoming the second country after the United Kingdom to do so, Bahraini state news agency BNA reported on Friday, citing the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA).

      In mid-November, Pfizer announced that their candidate vaccine concluded phase 3 clinical trials, with a declared efficacy level of 95 percent. On Wednesday, the United Kingdom became the first country to authorize the vaccine for emergency use.

      "The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will add a further important layer to the Kingdom’s national Covid-19 response, which has strongly prioritised protecting the health of all citizens and residents during the pandemic," NHRA CEO Mariam Al Jalahma was quoted as saying.

      Vaccination will be available to high-risk groups, including seniors and persons with chronic diseases, among others, according to the report.

    • 20:23

      Canada Exercises Option for 20Mln Additional Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Doses, Minister States

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canada is exercising contract options with Moderna to procure an additional 20 million vaccine doses from the US biotechnology giant, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand told reporters on Friday.

      “Canada is exercising options for an additional 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine candidate,” Anand said.

      The additional 20 million doses bring Canada’s total number of vaccine doses reserved from Moderna to 40 million, Anand added, with deliveries to be made throughout 2021.

      The federal government has also linked a deal with FedEx and Innomar Strategies to assist the Canadian military with the delivery of the vaccines, Anand announced.

    • 18:07

      Italy Registers 24,000 Coronavirus Cases in Past 24 Hours

    • 17:46

      Gov't Decisions Made in Coming Days Will Determine Course of Pandemic, WHO's Tedros Says

      MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that decisions made by the governments and individuals in the coming days would be decisive.

      On Wednesday, the United Kingdom authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, becoming the first country to do so. It gave the country a jump in mass vaccination against COVID-19. The same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a large-scale voluntary inoculation program with domestically produced  Sputnik V vaccine.

      "The pandemic still has a long way to run. And decisions made by leaders and citizens in the coming days will determine both the course of the virus in the short term and when this pandemic will ultimately end," Tedros said.

      The WHO chief further called on the public to be more patient and careful.

      "We know it has been a hard year and people are tired. ... My personal ask to people is simple: please be careful, think of health workers and act for the greater good, because it will save lives and livelihoods," Tedros added.

      As of Friday, the death toll from COVID-19 in the world topped 1.494 million, with over 64.3 million cases of infection, according to the WHO dashboard. The Americas are leading with 27,438,341 cases.

    • 17:38

      Vulnerable Brits to Get Priority Over Health Workers as UK Rolls Out Vaccine, Minister Says

    • 17:24

      EU's Accusations Against Russia of COVID-19 Disinformation Undermine Dialogue , Medvedev Says

      MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that the European Union's accusations against Russia of disinformation about the coronavirus infection created a background for censorship against journalists, making a productive dialogue hardly possible in such conditions.

      "I have paid attention to the policy paper entitled 'The European Democracy Action Plan' published on December 3. It turns out that the main threat to the EU democracy is 'misinformation' allegedly spread by Russia as well as China in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. These ridiculous allegations are beyond common sense. And even beyond good and evil. Their immorality, considering the tragic consequences of the global pandemic which has affected tens of millions of people across the globe, is obvious," Medvedev said on Facebook.

      He also noted that Russia had proven its readiness to fight the coronavirus: the vaccines against COVID created by Russian immunologists are open for use.

      Medvedev expressed regret that instead of joining forces in the fight against coronavirus, the European Union launched a new attack against Russia, "created information background to impose censorship and unlawful restrictions on unwanted journalists."

      "The actions of the European Union which has been repeatedly trying to explain away its domestic problems by the scheming of the dreadful Russians, undermine the EU image. Under such circumstances, it is unlikely to have a fruitful dialogue with our European neighbours," he added.

    • 17:13

      UNHCR Chief Says Important to Include Refugees, Displaced People in Vaccination Programs

      MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - Refugees and displaced persons should not be left out from national relief packages and social programs, including COVID-19 immunization when a vaccine becomes available, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Friday.

      "What is needed here is to ensure that these populations are included in the social safety nets and big economic relief packages that are being rolled out. I am particularly worried about refugees because as non-nationals in the countries where they find themselves, they risk being excluded at that particular point," Grandi said.

      According to the official, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Program, and UNICEF are doing their best to support displaced persons via their cash programs and humanitarian relief.

      "The same is, by the way, valid when vaccines will be available. It is important that these categories of people are also included, and I know that this is probably more politically difficult and economically difficult, but I will continue to advocate that and I am advocating now," Grandi added.

      The coronavirus pandemic has had a particularly strong negative effect on refugee populations worldwide, the UNHCR said in November. Many governments stopped resettlement programs during the pandemic, which resulted in asylum seekers crowding camps with little to no amenities for proper social distancing. If governments fail to take in more refugees before the year-end, 2020 will become the year of the lowest refugee resettlement level in history, the agency said.

    • 17:12

      Momentum Growing in Congress to Pass Omnibus, COVID-19 Relief Bills, Pelosi Says

      WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - Momentum is growing in Congress for Republicans and Democrats to agree on compromises to pass omnibus spending legislation and a COVID-19 crisis relief bill, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a press conference on Friday.

      "There is momentum. We have the time" to pass both pieces of legislation, Pelosi said.

      Lawmakers have been under pressure to create an omnibus and a COVID-19 relief plan amid a tight deadline of only one week away. Pelosi underscored that the US House members would not leave until a deal was reached.

      Although Democrats had previously expressed opposition to accepting any relief bill below $2 trillion, Pelosi said that she was now willing to consider the $908 billion proposal because presumed President-elect Joe Biden had a plan to address the coronavirus crisis.

      In the past, Pelosi had refused to accept any spending limit on the legislation lower than $2 billion. But she dramatically changed her position, cutting that limit by more than half, and said she would now accept only $908 million in spending - a level some Republicans have indicated they would consider.

    • 16:57

      WHO-Led COVAX Vaccine Access Initiative Secured 700Mln Doses of 3 Vaccines So Far, Tedros Says

      "COVAX has already secured 700 million doses of three vaccines and next year we aim to use additional funds to ensure that at least 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccines are available around the world", WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

    • 15:38

      Russian Deputy Prime Minister Refutes Foreign Media Reports of Faulty Covid Statistics

      Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova refuted reports of foreign media about discrepancies in Russia's Covid-19 statistics.

      "Back in the spring, and now, some respectable foreign media working in Russia have been saying that the coronavirus statistics of detection and fatality in Russia is not credible, that Russian officials, including the federal response centre, which I am heading, Russian statistics bureaus, Civil Registry Offices, are all publishing different information and therefore falsifying the data. I would like to say that the data of the federal response center and of the statistics bureau are credible", Golikova said.

      Regarding the fatality data, only the cases that do not raise any doubts and do not require an additional postmortem examination are taken into account for the statistics, Golikova explain.

    • 15:29

      Stock Markets Report Gains Amid Continued Optimism on Vaccines, Stimulus

    • 15:24

      Coronavirus Pandemic Could Slow US Economy Next Year, Adviser Kudlow Says

    • 15:02

      Mark Rutte: Netherlands to Receive 1 Mln Doses of Pfizer Vaccine in January, 400,000 Doses of Moderna Inoculation in 1Q 2021

    • 14:47

      Welsh Residents to Begin Receiving Vaccines Against COVID-19 From Tuesday

      Welsh residents are expected to begin receiving vaccines against COVID-19 from Tuesday, following the UK's approval of a candidate vaccine produced by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday.

      "Here in Wales, our plans have been thoroughly tested. We expect to receive the first supplies in the next couple of days. We have trained staff ready to give the vaccine, and I'm pleased to be able to say this afternoon that we are planning to begin vaccinating people from Tuesday of next week", Drakeford said at a press briefing.

      The first minister said that he hoped the beginning of the country's vaccination programme would mark the start of a "long path back to normality."

      The United Kingdom on Wednesday granted emergency use approval to the US-German vaccine, becoming the first country in the world to do so. Ministers have said that they are confident as many as 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive by next week.

      The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises UK health departments, has recommended using the first deliveries of vaccines to inoculate care home residents and their staff, as well as other elderly citizens.

    • 14:40

      Israel Triples Contracted Vaccine Supply From Moderna to 6Mln Doses

      Israel signed an agreement with US pharmaceutical company Moderna to procure an additional 4 million doses of its candidate coronavirus vaccine in 2021, thus tripling the amount under the original contract, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's press service said on Friday.

      The original agreement between Israel and Moderna was signed in mid-June. On November 30, the pharmaceutical company released results of the vaccine's primary efficacy analysis indicating efficacy of 94.1 percent.

      Israel has also signed contracts with other vaccine developers, including US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and UK company AstraZeneca, while Israel's top hospital, the Jerusalem-located Hadassah Medical Center, has ordered 1.5 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

    • 14:39

      US Gains Only 245,000 Jobs in November as COVID-19 Slows Employment Growth

      The United States added just 245,000 jobs in November, less than half of what it did in October, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on labor market recovery, the government’s monthly jobs data showed on Friday.

      "Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent", the US Bureau of Labour Statistics said in a statement. The latest job additions were lower than the 469,000 forecast by economists for November and 60 percent short of October’s gains of 610,000.

      The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April, at the height of lockdowns forced by the COVID-19. A rebound of 2.5 million jobs was logged in May and 4.8 million in June, before the recovery began slowing. For both September and October, less than 700,000 jobs were added each month.

      The US economy itself grew by 33.1 percent in the third quarter, after shrinking by 31.4 percent in the previous three months and 5 percent in the first quarter.

      Notwithstanding the rebound, the economic outlook for the United States remains dire with a rash of new coronavirus infections reported across a nation with nearly 14 million COVID-19 cases since January and more than 273,000 fatalities from that. Hospitalisation has also hit daily record highs of above 100,000 in recent weeks, even as vaccine development efforts have been showing promise.

    • 14:35

      Philippines Police to Use Sticks to Enforce Social Distancing Amid COVID-19, Reports Say

      Philippines Joint Task Force Covid Shield Commander Cesar Binag said that police in Manila will resort to using sticks to maintain social distance in public areas amid the spread of the coronavirus, the government news agency reported on Friday.

      Lieutenant general Binag said the authorities decided to increase the number of police officers in crowded places such as markets, shopping centers, churches and ports, since social distancing measures were not being observed by shoppers in Divisoria market, according to the PNA news agency.

      "We have doubled the deployment of cops and soldiers would also assist us in physical distancing patrols. This was what our chief PNP [Philippine National Police], Gen. Debold Sinas ordered. They have one-meter rattan sticks to enforce the physical distancing rule", Binag said, as cited by the PNA news agency.

      The PNP chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, has said that the number of people attending the Misa De Gallo (Christmas celebration), including those in Camp Crame (the national headquarters of PNP), should be controlled.

      Sinas said that the PNP would strictly control religious gatherings, to enforce the "no-caroling" and "no Christmas party" policy.

      To date, Philippines has confirmed 435,413 COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 8,446, according to the World Health Organisation.

    • 14:00

      US Gains Only 245,000 Jobs in November as COVID-19 Slows Employment Growth - Labour Dept

      "Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent", the US Bureau of Labour Statistics said in a statement. The latest job additions were lower than the 469,000 forecast by economists for November and 60 percent short of October's gains of 610,000.

    • 13:16

      RDIF, Kazakh Health Ministry Announce Cooperation on Registration, Production of Sputnik V

      "The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) and the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan are pleased to announce a cooperation agreement designed to facilitate the registration, production and distribution of the world's first registered vaccine against coronavirus - Sputnik V", the Russian Direct Investment Fund said in a press release.

    • 12:50

      Coronavirus Death Toll in Belgium Reaches 17,000

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - At least 17,033 people have died in Belgium from COVID-19 since the virus was detected in the country, the Sciensano national public health institute reported on Friday.

      The institute has been keeping the statistics on the epidemiological situation since March. Due to a decline in COVID-19 cases over the past weeks, the government has partly eased the related restrictions, allowing for museums and non-grocery stores to resume operations starting Tuesday.

    • 12:49

      Erdogan Says He Will Get Vaccinated to Set Example for Turks

      "There is no problem for me to get vaccinated", he said after Friday prayers in Istanbul. "It is necessary to take this step as an example for our citizens".

    • 12:34

      Turkey in Talks With China, Russia on Supplies of Coronavirus Vaccine

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Ankara is in talks with China and Russia on supplies of vaccines against the coronavirus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.

    • 12:04

      US Confirms Record 217,000 New Coronavirus Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States has registered a single-day record of 217,664 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University. This is an all-time global record. The previous record of over 205,000 cases was registered in the US on 28 November.

      According to the university, the US confirmed 2,879 coronavirus fatalities over the same period.

    • 11:14

      Philippines Register 934 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 10:48

      Switzerland Reports 4,382 New Coronavirus Cases and Over 100 Deaths

    • 10:35

      Norwegian Health Minister Says First Doses of Vaccine to Be Offered at Beginning of Next Year

    • 10:21

      Poland Expects to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine in January

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland expects to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in January, the head of the Chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister, told Radio Poland on Friday.

      "All indications say that the first vaccine units will arrive in Poland in January", Michal Dworczyk said, noting that the delivery time depends on the manufacturer.

    • 09:58

      UK to Start COVID-19 Vaccination on Tuesday

      "There are 50 hospital hubs and we know the vaccine will reach those to enable people to start vaccinating on Tuesday", Chris Hopson, the NHS Provider head told the BBC broadcaster.

    • 09:32

      European Commissioner for Economy Gentiloni Says Bloc Will Come Out of COVID-19 Crisis With 103-104% Debt in Euro Area

    • 09:21

      Russian Defence Ministry Expects to Receive 100,000 Sputnik V Vaccine Doses in December

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Ministry of Defence plans to receive 100,000 doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 later this month, Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov said on Friday.

      "In line with your [Defence Minister Sergeo Shoigu] order, the Russian Armed Forces has scaled up efforts toward vaccinating against the novel coronavirus infection. In December, we plan to receive 100,000 more doses of the vaccine", Ivanov said.

    • 08:44

      UK Health Regulator Defends Vaccine Approval After Top US Infectionist Says It Was 'Much Less Deep'

      A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed UK flag in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020

      UK Health Regulator Defends Vaccine Approval After Top US Infectionist Says It Was 'Much Less Deep'

      On 2 December, the UK government became the first country to authorise the use of a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with the immunisation campaign to begin as early as next week.
      Read more
    • 08:33

      US Doctor Fauci Apologises for Criticising UK's 'Rushed' Approval of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Anthony Fauci, the expert leading the COVID-19 response in the United States, in an interview with the BBC has apologised for saying that the United Kingdom had "rushed" the approval of the vaccine candidate developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech.

      "I have a great deal of confidence in what the UK does both scientifically and from a regulator standpoint... Our process is one that takes more time than it takes in the UK. And that's just the reality. I did not mean to imply any sloppiness even though it came out that way", Fauci said.

    • 08:29

      Covid Vaccine to Be Ready in Few Weeks: PM Modi

      Indian PM Narendra Modi said on Friday that India's COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective. Speaking at an all-party meeting with leaders of various political organisations and top ministers to discuss the pandemic situation in the country, the PM said that domestically-manufactured vaccines have shown promising results and added that the vaccine should be "ready in a few weeks".

    • 08:07

      Russia Registers 27,403 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has registered 27,403 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, down from the record 28,145 the day before, bringing the total to 2,402,949, the federal response centre said on Friday.

      "In the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 27,403 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 5,410 (19.7 percent) were detected among people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said, adding that the case count has reached 2,402,949.

    • 07:38

      French Finance Minister Le Maire Says France Will Get Vaccine as Soon as Possible

    • 07:35

      UK Hopes to Produce Millions of Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Doses This Year

      "We are starting initially with 800,000 and then let's see where we end up by the end of the year in terms of the numbers that we acquire. That will depend on the manufacturing", business minister Alok Sharma said on Sky News. "I hope we will have some millions by the end of this year but of course what we also always said is that the vast majority of this vaccination programme will take place in the new year".

    • 07:31

      Kazakhstan to Launch Production of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine on 22 December

      In this handout photo released by Russian Healthcare Ministry, packs with the world's first vaccine against COVID-19 registered in Russia are pictured, in Moscow, Russia. On August 11, Russia announced registering the world's first coronavirus vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V, set to be produced industrially. Editorial use only, no archive, no commercial use.

      Kazakhstan to Launch Production of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine on 22 December

      Moscow previously announced that the total volume of produced doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will reach 2 million in the near future, which will allow the authorities to start mass vaccinations in Russia.
      Read more
    • 07:25

      'Unsure When We Will Get a COVID Vaccine', Indian Health Minister Says

    • 06:57

      Hungarian PM Orban Warns Against Relaxing Coronavirus Restrictions

    • 05:31

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 36.595 to Over 9.57Mln

    • 05:19

      Mass Vaccination Can Start Soon as Sputnik V Production Is Growing to 2Mln Doses

      Production of anti-coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V

      Mass Vaccination Can Start Soon as Sputnik V Production is Growing to 2Mln Doses

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The total number of produced doses of Russia's coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, will reach 2 million soon, making the mass immunisation of Russian citizens possible, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 04:36

      India Records 36,595 New Coronavirus Infections

    Live Updates: US Confirms Record 217,000 New Coronavirus Cases Over Past 24 Hours
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