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    The global tally of coronavirus infection cases has exceeded 88 million, while the death toll is over 1.89 million and the number of people who have recovered is 49 million, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from federal and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The United States, India, and Brazil are in the lead in terms of the number of registered coronavirus infections, while the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths has been observed in the United States, Brazil, India, and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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    • 22:32

      White House Officials Think New COVID-19 Strain Has Evolved Within Country

      In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, people arrive at Jackson Memorial Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.

      WH Coronavirus Task Force Fears New Variant of COVID-19 Evolved in US - Report

      According to the media report, the US has ramped up its efforts in detecting new COVID-19 strains in recent weeks. And according to the latest data available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have registered at least 52 confirmed cases of the UK COVID-19 strain in the country.
      Read more
    • 22:00

      Biden to Receive Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose on Monday, Psaki Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President-elect Joe Biden will receive the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on January 11 in accordance with public health guidance, Biden-Harris transition team spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

      "On Monday the President-elect will receive his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in keeping the CDC guidance. This will be 21 days after he received the first dose," Psaki said during a virtual press briefing on Friday.

      Both Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the vaccine publicly and in separate locations, Psaki added.

    • 19:55

      German Deals With Vaccine Makers Put EU Unity to Test – Reports

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - Germany struck deals with coronavirus vaccine makers to buy an extra 55 million doses while Brussels was negotiating a bulk purchase for the entire EU, according to official data seen by media.

      The Spiegel magazine reported Friday that the German Health Ministry had secured 30 million Pfizer/Biontech vaccine doses, 20 million Curevac doses and 5 million IDT Biologika doses.

    • 19:09

      Austria to Tighten Border Controls With Slovakia, Czech Republic From Saturday

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Austria will tighten border controls with Slovakia and the Czech Republic from Saturday midnight due to an "extremely tense" coronavirus situation in the neighbor countries, the interior minister said Friday.

      "To protect people in our country we will seal off borders there and control every car entering Austria," Karl Nehammer was quoted as saying in a statement by the Heute news website.

      Those entering Austria will be required to sign a paper promising that they will self-isolate for 10 days. Commuters and freight vehicle drivers will be exempted.

    • 18:51

      WHO Chief Says to Fix Dates for China Fact-Finding Mission Next Week

      World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said the dates for the upcoming scientific mission to China would be set and made public next week.

      "We are in touch with Chinese officials and they agreed to share with us the specific dates for the travel in the next few days and we will share with you the specific dates next week," Ghebreyesus said at a briefing at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

      Earlier in the week, China denied entry to an international team of experts headed to China to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus. Chinese authorities downplayed the move, citing preliminary arrangements.

    • 18:11

      WHO Chief Asks Rich Countries to Share Out Excess COVID-19 Vaccine Supplies

      The chief of the World Health Organization slammed high-income countries on Friday for scooping up COVID-19 vaccines and called for their equitable distribution.

      Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a daily news briefing that the WHO’s vaccine distribution mechanism COVAX had secured contracts for 2 billion doses of vaccines, but better-off countries were draining vaccine supplies by making additional bilateral deals.

      "I urge countries that have contracted more vaccines that they will need and are controlling the global supply to also donate and release them to COVAX immediately," Tedros told reporters.

      He estimated that 42 countries were already rolling out vaccines, including 36 high-income countries and six middle-income ones.

      "At the outset, rich countries have bought up the majority of the supply of multiple vaccines … This potentially bumps up the price for everyone and means high-risk people in the poorest and most marginalized countries don’t get the vaccine," he explained.

      Tedros warned that "vaccine nationalism hurts us all and is self-defeating." When rolled out equitably, vaccines would spur a global economic recovery and limit the virus’s opportunity to mutate by curbing its transmission.

    • 18:10

      WHO Expects to Receive Complete Sputnik V Data From Russia by End of January

      The World Health Organization (WHO) expects to receive the full data from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute on the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine within the month so as to publish full recommendations for countries and organizations, Assistant Director-General Mariangela Simao.

      "We are in the process of receiving the complete data from AstraZeneca, from the Serum Institute and we expect to receive additional data from Gamaleya, which is the Russian producer before the end of January. This is to say that these products are currently being assessed by WHO," Simao said during a WHO briefing Friday.

    • 18:09

      Vaccines Rollout May Have Negligible Effect on Transmission Dynamics for Some Time, WHO Says

       The global rollout of coronavirus vaccines is unlikely to have a tangible impact on the daily infection figures for some time, the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of Emergencies Michael Ryan said Friday.

      "The numbers of vaccines that have currently been distributed would have had zero impact on dynamics at a country level. They may be saving lives as we speak and we’re very grateful for that but they are not going to affect transmission dynamics for a very long time," Ryan said at a briefing in the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

    • 17:25

      Denmark Plans to Conclude COVID-19 Vaccination in Late June, Health Authority Says

      Denmark is planning to finish its vaccination campaign against the coronavirus disease by the end of June, according to a schedule published by the Danish Health Authority.

      Per the schedule, the authority expects that all Denmark citizens will be vaccinated by June 27. Meanwhile, everyone who is in the risk groups, over 65 years old or working as medical staff is scheduled to be vaccinated by this April.

      All citizens over 16 are expected to be vaccinated, except for pregnant women.

      On December 21, the European Union approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for its domestic markets, with many countries beginning vaccinating citizens on December 27.

    • 16:42

      Mexico Not Ruling Out Purchase of Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine, Reports Say

      Mexico is not ruling out procuring Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, national media reported, citing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

      According to the Milenio channel, the president said that the vaccine was showing good results, so this possibility could be considered.

      Currently, Mexico has a contract with Pfizer/BioNTech, whose first vaccine batches were delivered to the country in late December, and also expects shipments of China’s CanSino vaccine.

      In December, Russian Ambassador Viktor Koronelli said that the Russian Direct Investment Fund had provided Mexico with all documents required for a launch of phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine in the country.

      In Latin America, Argentina and Bolivia have authorized the Russian vaccine for emergency use. On December 29, Argentina launched immunization with Sputnik V. Venezuela, which began conducting phase 3 trials of Sputnik V in October, expects the first batch of 10 million doses in the first quarter of 2021.

    • 16:12

      Turkey Reports More Than 11,000 New Coronavirus Cases, 186 COVID-Related Fatalities

    • 16:11

      Italy Reports 17,533 New COVID-19 Cases on Friday

    • 16:09

      UK Reports Over 68,000 New COVID Cases and 1,325 New Deaths

      The United Kingdom registered record increases in the number of COVID-19 deaths and new cases on Friday, according to official information.

      Just over 68,000 new cases of infection take the total to just under three million cases in total in the country while 1,325 deaths render the coronavirus toll just short of 80,000 casualties.

      The record high tally was set on the same day that the United States saw its daily COVID-19 death exceed the 4,000 mark for the first time.

      England is in the midst of its third national lockdown while Scotland and Wales maintain restrictions in place after easing up lockdowns over the holidays.

       

    • 16:07

      Indonesia's Daily Coronavirus Cases Pass Record 10,000

      Indonesia reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on Friday, with 10,617 people contracting the CODID-19 disease in the past day, official data showed.

      The previous daily record of 9,321 new cases was set on Thursday. The total number of cases has reached 808,340.

      A further 233 patients with coronavirus died in the previous 24-hour period, taking the death toll to 23,753, according to the Health Ministry.

      The Southeast Asian archipelago nation has banned entry to foreign travelers until mid-January, with some exceptions, in a bid to stop mutated strains from slipping into the country.

    • 16:06

      Paraguayan Lab Applies to Register Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine, Watchdog Says

      Paraguayan laboratory Guayaki has applied to register Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the National Health Monitoring Directorate’s chief told Radio 1000 on Friday, noting that the watchdog needed additional documents to consider the application.

      "The only application that we have received is from Guayaki, which requested to register Sputnik V. I have absolutely nothing against the Guayaki laboratory, the question is not about the company or the quality of the Russian vaccine, it is just about documentary support that we need to grant registration," Maria Antonieta Gamarra said, adding that the application had been received two days ago.

      She also specified that there is a difference between registering a vaccine and authorizing its emergency use.

      According to the official, "all the countries that have rolled out the Russian vaccine have done so under the emergency use permit," but "no vaccine in any country has so far been registered, as phase 3 [trials] of many of them have not finished yet."

    • 15:39

      All Travel to Denmark Will be Further Restricted, Danish Justice Minister Says

    • 15:38

      Ukrainian Prime Minister Asks von der Leyen to Help Get Vaccines Earlier Than March

      Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has asked the European Commission chief to help the country get first COVID-19 vaccines earlier than March, his spokeswoman said on Friday.

      In mid-December, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he had tasked the health ministry with acquiring first COVID-19 doses in January or February at the latest. The country, however, has yet to receive first shots. According to Health Minister Maxym Stepanov, the country has signed technical documents with the COVAX facility for the supply of 8 million vaccine doses. The country has also struck a contract for 1.9 million doses with China’s Sinovac Biotech.

      "Indeed, the prime minister has addressed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with an official letter regarding assistance in ensuring early access to vaccination for Ukrainians. This is about a possibility for Ukraine to get a vaccine before March, when the first vaccine batches are expected under the COVAX program," Olha Kuryshko told the Evropeiska Pravda news outlet.

      Stepanov, meanwhile, announced live on Hromadske Radio that the country would sign new vaccine contracts next week. He did not specify the names of the manufacturers.

      Hours prior to that, the minister confirmed receiving an application from a Kharkiv-based pharmaceutical company to register Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine. He, however, stressed that the health ministry was capable of providing the country with vaccines from "the world's leading manufactures."

      Ukraine has so far confirmed over 1.1 million coronavirus cases, including more than 770,000 recoveries and 19,588 deaths. Starting Friday, the country has been on a new COVID-19 lockdown.

    • 15:15

      Germany Halts IDT Biologika Vaccine Trials After Underwhelming Results

      Human trials of a German COVID-19 vector vaccine candidate developed by IDT Biologika were paused after it was found to induce only a weak immune response, a Hamburg university clinic involved in testing said Friday.

      "The vaccine is safe and well-tolerated and has a low side-effect profile, but the immune reaction is below expectations," the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf said in a press release.

      Researchers were given the greenlight for the first phase of clinical trials in October. The tests in 30 healthy volunteers wrapped up in mid-December.

      The second phase will be delayed until the cause for the low immune response is found. It was planned to start early this year and would have included elderly patients. Marylyn Addo, the lead researcher, said the team would focus on improving the vaccine.

    • 15:14

      Japan Hits New Daily Record of Over 7,800 COVID-19 Cases, Reports Say

      Japan has confirmed at least 7,882 new daily COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the NHK broadcaster reported on Friday.

      On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared the second state of emergency that will stay in force until February 7 in the Japanese prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama due to a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases.

      According to the news outlet, the highest spike in coronavirus cases was reported by Tokyo prefecture with 2,392 new infections, which was followed by the prefectures of Kanagawa (838), Osaka (654), Saitama (496), Chiba (455) and Aichi (405).

      NHK added that Japan also hit a record increase in fatalities, reporting 79 new daily fatal cases.

      According to Johns Hopkins University, Japan has confirmed 267,084 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the country registered 7,563 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours.

    • 14:39

      Finland Extends Suspension of Flights From UK Until 18 January

      Finland has extended the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa until January 18 over fears of a new coronavirus strain discovered in the UK, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) said on Friday.

      The suspension was initially imposed until January 4, then extended it until January 11.

      "Per the statement by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency has decided to extend the suspension of passenger flights from the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa to Finland until January 18," the Traficom said in a statement.

      At the same time, the air traffic from Finland to the UK will continue, according to Finnish national carrier Finnair, which continues making passenger flights to London, Edinburgh and Manchester, while only cargo flights continue in the opposite direction.

      In December, the UK announced that a new coronavirus strain was detected in the country, adding that the new variant can be up to 70 percent more transmissible than other SARS-CoV-2 variants. After the news, many countries suspended travel to and from the UK. There is no evidence that the new strain is more pathogenic.

    • 13:46

      French Health Authority Approves Moderna Vaccine Against Coronavirus

      The French national authority for health, HAS, gave the greenlight on Friday to the use of the Moderna vaccine against coronavirus in people aged 18 and over.

      "HAS believes that the Moderna COVID-19 nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine can be used in people aged 18 and over, including in the elderly due to its efficiency and a satisfactory safety profile," a statement read.

      This comes two days after the US-made vaccine was given a conditional marketing authorization by the EU drug agency. France began the vaccination campaign last month after HAS approved the Pfizer/Bionech for use on 24 December.

    • 13:41

      New Delhi Orders Temporary Mandatory Quarantine for UK Arrivals Over Mutant Virus Strain

      The New Delhi government ordered on Friday that all people arriving from the United Kingdom quarantine for at least one week in a government-run isolation facility upon landing in a bid to prevent the import of the mutated coronavirus strain amid resumed air traffic.

      India suspended flights from the United Kingdom on 23 December. The ban expired today.

      "All travelers coming from United Kingdom to India from 08.01.2021 would be mandatorily subjected to self-paid RT-PCR tests on arrival at the airport. Those who are found positive shall be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate unit as per existing laid down protocol. Those who are found negative shall be kept in compulsory institutional quarantine for a period of 7 days followed by 7 days of home quarantine," the order read, as published by New Delhi National Capital Territory Chief Secretary Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.

      Announcing the discovery of the mutant virus in December, UK health authorities said it had been established up to 70 percent more contagious than the original strain. They did not provide any information whether the new strain (501) was more deadly or harder on symptoms.

    • 13:41

      Germany Reports Record 1,188 COVID-19 Deaths in One Day

      Germany has registered 1,188 COVID-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours, which is the largest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic, the Robert Koch Institute reported on Friday.

      In addition, the country has recorded a further 31,849 infections, which is also one of the highest daily tallies so far.

      The new figures take the cumulative cases and deaths to 1,866,887 and 38,795, respectively.

      The record single-day spike in fatalities comes amid mounting concerns over a new faster-spreading coronavirus variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom in mid-December and has since spread across the globe.

      Germany on Tuesday extended the national lockdown until the end of January. Under the tougher rules, no more than two people from two households will be allowed to meet, down from five. People from hardest-hit areas are banned from traveling beyond a 15-km radius limit (9.3 miles).

    • 13:11

      Because of Threat of Virus, Our City is at a Crisis Point, London Mayor Says

      The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, declared on Friday a "major incident" in the UK capital due to the rapid increase in the number of people being admitted to the city’s hospitals and the risk of the National Health Service (NHS) being overwhelmed over the next two weeks.

      "We are declaring a major incident because the threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point. If we do not take immediate action now, our NHS could be overwhelmed and more people will die," Khan said in a statement.

      According to the mayor’s office, there are 7,034 people currently in hospital with COVID-19, a 35 percent increase compared to the peak of the pandemic in April and the London Ambulance Service is now taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day, compared to 5,500 on a typical busy day.

    • 13:02

      Belgium Plans to Vaccinate 70% of People by September

      Belgium expects to vaccinate 70 percent of the country's population against the coronavirus disease, enough to reach herd immunity, by September, the Sudinfo media outlet reported Friday, citing Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

      The country launched its vaccination campaign Tuesday with its initial phase scheduled to end late January or early February when all nursing home residents and staff are inoculated.

      According to Vandenbroucke, the country's working group on vaccination has come up with a strategy, stipulating that the main vaccination campaign has to conclude by the end of summer. The minister added that the situation will depend on the vaccine reserves and the overall pace of vaccination.

      Belgium has confirmed a total of 655,732 COVID-19 patients, including 19,883 fatalities.

      In early November, the country's government reimposed a nationwide lockdown, closing bars, cafes and restaurants as well as theme parks, hair salons and sports clubs.

    • 12:59

      Switzerland Reports 3,220 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:50

      EU Regulator Says Pfizer Vaccine Vial Contains 6 Doses If Used Correctly

      The European medicines Agency (EMA) clarified on Friday that one vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine (Comirnaty) contains six doses rather than five, as previously believed.

      The EMA authorized the vaccine's use in the European Union on December 21. Earlier on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the total contracted amount of doses was 600 million, enough to cover 380 million people, or 80 percent of the bloc's population.

      "EMA’s human medicines committee has recommended updating the PDF iconproduct information for Comirnaty to clarify that each vial contains 6 doses of the vaccine," the regulator said in a press release.

      The agency specified that in order to extract six full doses of 35 microliters (0.0012 oz) each from one bottle, low dead-volume syringes and/or needles should be used. If the remaining amount after the fifth dose is not enough for a full sixth dose, the vial should be discarded, according to the press release.

      "There should be no pooling from multiple vials to make up a full dose, and any unused vaccine should be discarded 6 hours after dilution," the agency added.

      The dosing regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is two doses per person at least 21 days apart.

      Aside from Pfizer-BioNTech, the European Union uses the coronavirus vaccine by US company Moderna, authorized by the EMA on Wednesday.

    • 12:36

      Swedish Parliament Adopts Emergency COVID-19 Law to Enable Government to Close Businesses

      The Swedish parliament on Friday passed a temporary law and legislative amendments to empower the government to close businesses and ban public activities should the COVID-19 dynamic necessitate this.

      Until now, Sweden stood out among other countries by its lack of emergency regulations to counter COVID-19. The country experienced an acute increase in cases over the past month.

      "The Riksdag voted in favour of the Government's proposal to introduce a temporary law and certain legislative amendments to enable more measures to be taken to counteract congestion and thus prevent the spread of COVID-19. It will be possible to introduce special restrictions for both certain activities and places," the parliament said in a press release.

      The law will take effect on 10 January and apply until the end of September, according to the legislature.

      Closures under the new law, as specified in the press release, might apply to malls and other mass shopping centers, public transport, domestic air travel and public places for recreational or cultural activities, among other sites.

      "If necessary, it will be possible to prohibit public gatherings of a certain size at places to which the public have access and close premises that serve food and drink," the press release read.

      The parliament instructed the government to work out in more detail the compensation measures for businesses that end up affected by the new law.

    • 12:36

      Germany Introduces Mandatory COVID-19 Tests for All Arrivals From Ireland

      German authorities have obliged all people coming from Ireland to take a COVID-19 test no earlier than 48 hours before departure when crossing the border, a spokesman for the German Transport Ministry said on Friday.

      "Starting from today, flights from Ireland to Germany are only allowed if passengers undergo a SARS-Cov-2 test before departure, the result of which must be negative. A regular or electronic confirmation document must be in German. The test must be done no earlier than 48 hours before departure," the spokesman said at a briefing.

      According to the spokesman, the German authorities are closely monitoring the situation with the spread of a new strain of coronavirus, previously detected in the UK, and do not rule out a mandatory test for arrivals from other countries.

    • 12:24

      EU Drug Regulator Expects AstraZeneca Vaccine Application Next Week

      The EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA) expects AstraZeneca to forward paperwork for the use of its COVID-19 vaccine on EU territory next week,

      “After having received more data from the company, EMA is expecting Astra Zeneca to submit a conditional marketing application for its #COVID19vaccine next week,” the regulator said in a tweet on Friday.

      The EMA added that the approval, or lack thereof, may be given by the end of January depending on data and evaluation progress.

    • 12:16

      UK Regulator Approves Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

    • 11:58

      UK on Course for 100,000 COVID-19 Death by January's End, Former Public Health Official Says

      England’s former public health regional director John Ashton said on Friday that the UK is on course for recording over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of January, and urged people to hold the government to account for its response to the pandemic.

      “We´re now approaching a thousand deaths a day - six or seven thousand a week – and you don´t need a GCSE maths to realize that we will be over 100,000 by the end of January unless something miraculously and dramatic happens,” Ashton said in a video posted on the Double Down News website.

      The British doctor and academic, who headed Public Health for North West England for 13 years, said people should take the skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases being reported in the UK over the last few weeks “as a wake-up call.”

      “We´ve got to make the government do the right things in the right order and at the right pace. We need to do that. That´s our responsibility to hold them to account,” he said.

      Ashton also questioned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership qualities, claiming that he has shown a lack of coherence and a narrow vision in his response to the pandemic.

      “One minute he puts the public health in opposition to the economy and the next minute he´s slaughtering the economy because of the failure to get on top of the public health issues,” he said.

      Using a sports phrase, the former public health official said that Johnson’s “is a second or third division government, not a Premier League government.”

      On Thursday, the UK registered over 52,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,162 related deaths, the highest increase since April. Overall, the country has confirmed over 2.8 million COVID-19 cases and more than 78,000 deaths.

    • 11:55

      Armenian President Has Coronavirus With Complications

      Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 during his London trip, has a "complex" course of the disease, but continues working remotely, his assistant told Sputnik on Friday.

      "Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, who is in isolation due to the coronavirus, has a complex course of the disease. He has symptoms typical of his condition. Sarkissian continues treatment under the supervision of doctors, and based on the state of health, he is working … remotely," Hasmik Petrosyan said.

      She added that once his condition stabilizes and doctors permit, the president will immediately return to Yerevan to perform his duties.

      On Tuesday, the president's office told Sputnik that Sarkissian had tested positive for coronavirus in London, where he celebrated New Year’s with his family and underwent a leg surgery. His wife has also caught the virus. The president remains in the UK capital.

    • 11:41

      Cyprus Goes Into New Lockdown From 10 January as COVID-19 Surges

    • 11:34

      Hungary Still in Talks With Russia, China on Coronavirus Vaccine Supplies

      Hungary continues to negotiate coronavirus vaccine supplies with Russia, China and Israel due to EU-led procurement being too slow, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

      "Unfortunately, the EU’s purchase of vaccines has been very slow, so Hungary carries on negotiations with Israel, Russia and China as well because if we wait, the vulnerable situation we currently have will persist," Orban told Hungarian broadcaster Kossuth Radio, as quoted by his press service.

      According to the prime minister, Hungary has received only 80,000 vaccine doses so far under the EU-led distribution process.

      "Only competencies that we are certain will be better handled at the EU level should be transferred to Brussels,” Orban said.

    • 11:34

      Ukrainian Health Minister Confirms Receiving Application to Register Russian Vaccine

      Ukrainian Health Minister Maxym Stepanov has confirmed receiving an application from a Kharkiv-based pharmaceutical company to register Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

      On Wednesday, Ukrainian firm Biolik said that it had submitted a registration application for the Russian vaccine on December 31.

      "Сompany Biolik has filed an application with the State Expert Center. This is just an application … Then they must submit a registration form, they must submit a dossier. This dossier should clearly reflect the safety of this vaccine, as well as results of phase 1, 2 and 3 of clinical trials — all this should be reflected in the dossier. Finally, we will see not some political slogans, but what the Russian vaccine is," Stepanov told a briefing.

      Based on these documents, he continued, "it will be possible to talk about the quality of these papers and speak more frankly about this vaccine."

      The minister added that there had been a lot of "big politics" around Sputnik V.

      "The Russian Federation has always used every opportunity in this hybrid war, and now this is no exception," he argued, noting that issues of Ukrainians’ health must not be involved in "information wars that are spreading around this vaccine."

      The official went on to express confidence that the health ministry was able to provide the country with vaccines from "the world's leading manufacturers."

      Ukraine has yet to receive first vaccine shots. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday tasked law enforcement agencies with verifying reports about the Pfizer vaccine being smuggled into the country for a "covert" immunization of the top elite.

    • 11:34

      Another 3 Japanese Prefectures to Ask Gov't to Declare State of Emergency Over COVID-19

       The governors of the Japanese prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo said Friday they were planning to ask the central government to impose a state of emergency over growing cases of COVID-19.

      Earlier in the week, Japan declared a state of emergency until 7 February in the prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

      "Taking into account the situation when we have seen a rapid increase of new cases during the last two days, it is time to request to declare a state of emergency in Osaka as well," Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said at a press conference.

      His stance was seconded by counterparts in Kyoto and Hyogo, Takatoshi Nishiwaki and Toshizo Ido. The governors are expected to file a joint request with the government on Saturday.

      Under the state of emergency, all bars and restaurants will be obligated to close at 8 p.m. local time [11:00 GMT]. The country's government has pledged to allocate compensatory funds to the businesses that will adhere to the restrictions. Japanese entities will have to encourage their employees to work from home, while mass gathering will be limited to 5,000 people.

      The previous state of emergency was declared in Japan in early April and was lifted on 25 May.

    • 11:07

      EU Secured Enough Vaccine Doses for 80% of Europeans

      The amount of coronavirus vaccine doses contracted by the European Union so far is enough to cover 380 million people, or 80 percent of the population, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

      "We have already secured an amount of doses that we need to vaccinate 380 million Europeans, and this is more than 80 percent of the European population," von der Leyen said at a press conference.

      Promising that more vaccines will come "in the following months," the commission chief said "We have to vaccinate as many Europeans as possible and as quickly as possible."

      There are two coronavirus vaccines currently with authorization of use in the European Union — by Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech duo.

    • 10:42

      Live from Naples Following Explosion Near COVID-19 Care Facility

    • 09:30

      Delhi Announces Measures to Prevent COVID Strain Found in UK From Spreading in India

    • 09:13

      EU Has New Deal With Pfizer For 300 Mln More COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

      The European Commission has renewed a contract with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech to purchase an additional 300 million doses of their vaccine against the coronavirus disease, President Ursula von der Leyen said Friday.

      "As you know, we have right now access to 300 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. Now the good news is, we now have agreed with BioNTech/Pfizer to extend this contract. With the new agreement, we could purchase a total of up to an additional 300 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine," von der Leyen said at a briefing.

      She added that 75 million of those new vaccines would be available in the second quarter of the year, with the rest arriving in the third and fourth ones.

    • 09:03

      Iran's Supreme Leader Bans Import of COVID-19 Vaccines From UK, US

      Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, on Friday declared a ban on coronavirus vaccines from the United Kingdom and the United States.

      "The second issue related to the coronavirus: the import of UK and US vaccines is prohibited," Khamenei said during a broadcast speech.

      Tehran is currently developing its own vaccines against COVID-19. As health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told Sputnik, the country expects to receive its first domestic vaccine in spring.

    • 08:17

      Russia Registers 21,652 New Coronavirus Cases Over Past Day

      Russia's coronavirus tally has increased by 23,652 cases recorded over the past 24 hours, compared to the 23,541 registered the day before, the government's coronavirus response centre said in an update on Friday.

      "Over the past day, 23,652 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 2,697 cases (11.4 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The highest local daily increases were confirmed in Moscow (5,027), St. Petersburg (3,017) and the Moscow Region (1,226), as stated in the update.

      Russia's cumulative case count has now reached 3,355,794 cases, with the rate of increase at 0.7 percent, according to the centre.

      The death toll has reached 60,911, with an increase of 454 over the past day, down from 506 from the day before. Moscow and St.Petersburg reported highest daily increase in coronavirus-related fatalities — 71 and 55 respectively.

      Total recoveries count 2,731,129 as 21,677  more people were discharged from hospitals over the past day, down from 23,729 from the day before.

    • 08:03

      Norway COVID-19 Tally Rises to 53,792

    • 06:46

      Hungary Extends Existing COVID-19 Curbs, Night Curfew Until 1 February

    • 06:24

      Ukraine Registers 5,676 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 06:03

      Mongolia Reports 33 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:39

      Brazil to Purchase 100Mln Doses of Sinovac Vaccine in 2021

      Brazilian government will acquire 100 million doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Chinese laboratory Sinovac in 2021, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said, specifying that the vaccine will be produced by Brazil's Butantan Institute.

      "Today [on Thursday] we signed a contract with Butantan Institute to purchase first 46 million doses by April and 54 million doses throughout the year," the minister said at a press conference.

      He assured that all Sinovac vaccines that have been already in the Butantan Institute will be used for the national immunization program and distributed on an equitable and proportional basis among all Brazilian states.

      According to Pazuello, Brazil also expects to receive 254 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford University. These doses will be produced by Rio de Janeiro-based Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.

    • 04:33

      Germany Registers 31,849 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:32

      US Sets New Record With Nearly 4,000 COVID-19 Deaths in 24 Hours

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