20:47 GMT05 March 2021
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    The World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March 2020. To date, more than 97.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.08 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Spain has registered its biggest spike in daily cases to date. As of Friday, the total number of cases reached 2,456,675 after adding 44,357 new infections.

    According to the Spanish Health Ministry, the incidence of COVID cases per 100,000 citizens over the past two weeks has reached 795, which is more than three times higher than the 250 mark, considered by the ministry as "an extreme risk".

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    • 03:39

      Uruguay Reaches Deal With Pfizer, Sinovac on Deliveries of COVID-19 Vaccines, President States

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Uruguay has reached an agreement with the companies of Pfizer and Sinovac on deliveries of the vaccines against the coronavirus, country's President Luis Lacalle Pou said.

      “The government has just reached an agreement with Pfizer and Sinovac on delivering vaccines to our country. At the same time, we are holding negotiations to purchase more vaccines from other suppliers,” the president wrote on his Twitter page on late Friday.

    • 03:17

      Mali to Purchase 8.4 Million Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine Against Coronavirus – Reports

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Mali is going to purchase 8.4 million doses of vaccine against the coronavirus, media reported.

      The first deliveries of the vaccine doses are scheduled for March, while the vaccination campaign is to be started in April, the Essor newspaper reported on late Friday.

      According to other media reports, the country like most other African nations opted for the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca as it does not need to be stored under very low temperatures.

    • 23:30

      Some 200 National Guard Troops Deployed at US Capitol Test Positive for COVID-19 - Reports

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Nearly 200 members of the National Guard deployed to Washington, DC for the inauguration of President Joe Biden have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Wall Street Journal reported.

      The 200 troops were part of an approximately 26,000-strong National Guard force sent from all 50 US states to Washington, DC to provide security for the inauguration following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

      Some 15,000 of the National Guard troops have been orders to leave, while 3,600 more are awaiting orders, the report said. Some 7,000 have been asked to stay until the end of January to help ensure security in the capital, the report added.

    • 23:21

      Panama Registers First South African COVID-19 Variant Case on its Soil

    • 22:12

      Pfizer CEO Promised Canada 4 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses on Schedule by End of March, PM Trudeau Says

      Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 22, 2021

      Trudeau Says Pfizer CEO Promised to Deliver 4Mln Doses on Schedule By End of March

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he received assurances from Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla that the company would deliver 4 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.
      Read more
    • 20:40

      Portugal Records Its First Case of South African COVID-19 Strain, Reports State

    • 20:32

      British Prime Minister's Press Secretary Stratton Is in Isolation Due to Possible COVID-19 Exposure, Reports Say

    • 20:27

      AstraZeneca Announces Delay in Supply of COVID-19 Vaccines to EU, European Commissioner Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Representatives from AstraZeneca have told European Union officials to expect delays in the delivery of vaccines against COVID-19, Stella Kyriakides, the European commissioner for health and food safety, said Friday.

      "During today’s Steering Committee with Member States on the #EUVaccinesStrategy, @AstraZeneca representatives announced delays in the delivery of vaccines compared to the forecast for the first quarter of this year," Kyriakides wrote on Twitter.

      EU officials expressed their dissatisfaction to hear of the delays and insisted that AstraZeneca take measures to increase the stability and predictability of deliveries, Kyriakides added.

    • 19:50

      Lebanon to Insist on Full Vaccine Supplies Under Contract With Pfizer, Source Says

      BEIRUT (Sputnik) - The Lebanese authorities intend to use all available opportunities to obtain the full amount of the Pfizer vaccine within the terms established by the contract, a source close to the Lebanese Ministry of Health told Sputnik on Friday.

      Last week, the Pfizer/BoiNTech drugmakers reduced their vaccine shipments for several weeks to focus on modifications on a production site in Belgium to boost production capacity in mid-February. The decision angered vaccine buyers from different countries.

      "We will insist in all possible ways that Lebanon receives the full amount according to the agreement. Under the contract, the delivery is divided into three stages. The first delivery is scheduled for early February, we should receive about 40,000 doses. In the second delivery in March, we should receive 100,000 doses per week. The third delivery will take place in April and will amount to 250,000 doses. We will insist on receiving this amount," the source said.

    • 19:07

      France Registers Over 3 Million Total COVID-19 Cases, With Death Toll Standing at 72,647

    • 18:53

      WHO Expert Says 'Too Early' to Conclude Whether COVID-19 Originated in China

      The executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme, Mike Ryan, has said that it is premature to make any conclusion regarding the origins of the coronavirus since it is still not clear whether the infection emerged in China or any other country.

      On January 14, the international team of WHO experts arrived in the Chinese city of Wuhan to study the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to China's National Health Commission, the experts were made to undergo self-isolation for 14 days upon their arrival and communicate with Chinese scientists via video conference.

      "It is definitely too early to come to a conclusion of exactly where this virus started, either within or without China," Ryan said.

      The WHO official added that the organization's experts were "on the ground" in Wuhan, coordinating with Chinese scientists.

      "They're having a good experience working with our Chinese colleagues. We're working through the data. The data will lead us to the next phase, where we need to go next to look at the origins of this virus," Ryan said.

      The coronavirus was first detected in China's eastern city of Wuhan in late December, with initial reports linking the first cases to a local wet market.

      The WHO already sent missions to China in February and July of last year. The current mission is larger and includes experts from Russia, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

       

        

    • 18:50

      Johnson Expects UK COVID-19 Deaths to Remain High 'For a Little While to Come'

      The United Kingdom will continue to register a high number of COVID-19 related deaths in the near future, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

      Earlier in the day, the prime minister said that the new variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the UK last month, may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.

      "We think, looking at the numbers of infections we've sadly seen as a result of the new variant, that big surge that the country saw in the Christmas period and afterwards … that the death numbers will continue to be high at least for a little while to come," Johnson said at a government press briefing.

      On Friday, public health officials in the UK reported 40,261 new positive tests for the coronavirus, with 6,586 COVID-19 related deaths.

      The total number of coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 3,583,907, with 95,829 COVID-19 related deaths having been registered.

    • 18:45

      About 2Mln Bulgarians to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine by End of Year, Health Minister Says

      Nearly 2 million people in Bulgaria are expected to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus this year, Health Minister Kostadin Angelov said on Friday.

      "Until the end of the year, Bulgaria will have enough [doses] of the vaccine ...Bulgaria will receive about 3.9 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and some 2 million Bulgarians will be vaccinated," Angelov said while addressing the parliament, as cited by the BTV broadcaster.

      The minister added that Bulgaria was participating in six preliminary agreements on the purchase of over 13 million doses of vaccines against the coronavirus, which would be enough to vaccinate the country's entire population.

      At the same time, if more doses are needed, the Bulgarian Ministry of Health is ready to purchase the vaccine outside the European Union, the official said.

      According to Angelov, the authorities are currently taking actions to organize a large immunization campaign.

      A mass vaccination campaign with the use of the Pfizer vaccine in Bulgaria, as elsewhere within the EU, was launched on December 27. In addition to that, Bulgaria received the first batch of Moderna's vaccine last week. So far, 25,251 people have received shots.

      Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Bulgaria has confirmed nearly 214,000 cases of the coronavirus, including over 177,300 recoveries and 8,741 fatalities.

    • 18:43

      White House to Hold COVID Briefings With Experts Several Times a Week, Spokeswoman Says

    • 17:37

      Bill Gates Gets First Dose of COVID Vaccine

    • 17:32

      WHO, Pfizer-BioNTech Sign Deal on Up to 40Mln Vaccine Doses for COVAX Facility, Tedros Says

      The World Health Organization (WHO) and the alliance of pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech agreed on allocation of 40 million doses of the latter's vaccine for the WHO-led global coronavirus vaccine procurement facility COVAX, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

      "Today, I'm glad to announce that COVAX has signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for up to 40 million doses of its vaccine," Tedros told a press briefing.

      "This agreement also opens the door for countries who are willing to share doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate them to COVAX and support rapid rollout," he added.

    • 16:47

      Spain Discarding Thousands of Pfizer Vaccine Doses For Lack of Right Syringes

      Spain does not have enough of right syringes and needles to extract a sixth dose from a Pfizer anti-coronavirus vaccine vial, resulting in thousands of doses going to waste, doctors have complained.

      The EU medicines regulator said in a guidance update on January 8 that low dead-volume syringes and needles with more effective space than standards ones must be used to get full six doses. It warned that pooling contents from two vials to make up a full 0.3 ml dose was not permitted.

      Insufficient supplies of low dead-space equipment have been reported in the capital of Madrid, the southern Andalusia region and Catalonia. The Catalan health officials say a six dose is on average extracted from only two out of three vials.

      Concerns are that the ambiguous six dose will soon be factored in delivery numbers.

      "The Pfizer company will begin a review process on January 25 after which EU member states will continue receiving the same number of doses but in a fewer vials," the Spanish health ministry said.

      Spain expects to import 4.5 million Pfizer doses in the first quarter of this year. Some 1.3 million Pfizer doses and 35,000 Moderna doses have been delivered to the country of 47 million. Both vaccines require two doses for maximum effectiveness. A total of 1.1 million have received a shot.

    • 16:24

      Germany Reportedly Detects 1st Case of Brazilian Coronavirus Variant in Returnee

      A coronavirus infection with the mutated Brazilian strain has been confirmed in a German resident of Frankfurt am Main who recently returned from Brazil, German news agency DPA reported on Friday.

      According to the report, the man has no symptoms and was only confirmed infected with the Brazilian variant by a PCR test on board the plane. By the time he landed at the Frankfurt am Main airport on Thursday, German health authorities were prepared to handle the case.

      Other passengers were reportedly told to self-isolate.

      Earlier this week, Helge Braun, the head of the German Chancellery, said the country would close the borders to all travel if the spread of mutant virus strains does not slow down in Europe.

    • 16:11

      Greece to Open High Schools on 1 Feb Amid Easing of COVID Restrictions, Official Says

    • 13:36

      Serbian Health Secretary Says Feels 'Very Good' After Receiving Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine

      Serbian Health Ministry State Secretary Mirsad Derlek said on Friday that he was feeling great after receiving the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus.

      Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said last Sunday that Serbia was expecting 500,000 doses of Sputnik V in the near future. The first batch of 2,400 doses of the vaccine was delivered to Belgrade on 30 December. Sputnik V is currently undergoing the procedure of obtaining a permit for use in Serbia.

      When asked on national television how he felt after getting the shot, Derlek replied in Russian, saying "very good."

      "Most of the citizens are asking for the Sputnik V vaccine. We are expecting the delivery of 250,000 doses soon. We advise them to go for the vaccine that we have in bulk, which is China's Sinopharm. The difference is in the nuances and methodology of administering the vaccine, but the goal is to eventually develop antibodies and the immune response to COVID-19", the health official said.

      Derlek, Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic were vaccinated against the coronavirus with the Russian vaccine on 6 January.

      Serbia launched its national vaccination on 24 December, when the country received the first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Six days later, Serbia obtained 2,400 doses of Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

    • 13:35

      Morocco to Receive First 2-Million-Dose Vaccine Batch on Friday, Source Reveals

      The first shipment of 2 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses will be delivered to the northern African nation on Friday, a government source told Sputnik.

      In late December, the country's health authorities said they secured a total of 65 million doses of two coronavirus vaccines, developed separately by China’s Sinopharm and UK’s AstraZeneca companies, as part of a plan to inoculate up to 25 million people in the country for free. Medical and education personnel, security services and public authorities are in priority for the vaccination.

      "The first batch of vaccine against the coronavirus will arrive in Morocco from India today. The volume of the batch is two million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in the UK and produced by Indian pharmaceutical companies," the source said.

      It specified that the vaccine will be administered for use once the country’s Health Ministry is ready to start the mass vaccination campaign.

      Morocco has been under the state of health emergency ever since the COVID-19 infections occurred in the country. The health limitations include ban on private and public gatherings, a recently imposed night curfew and other measures. The authorities extend the restrictions on a regular basis, with the latest extension set to expire on February 10.

      To date, Morocco has detected 463,706 COVID-19 infections with the death toll at 8,076.

    • 13:34

      Myanmar Receives 1.5Mln Doses of India-Made COVID-19 Vaccines for Free

    • 13:32

      New Delhi Sends Indian-Made COVID-19 Vaccines to Seychelles, Mauritius, Foreign Ministry Says

      India on Friday began shipping Indian-made vaccines against the coronavirus disease to Seychelles and Mauritius, the country's foreign ministry said.

      Later in the day, Srivastava specified that 1.5 million doses had been airlifted to Myanmar, while 100,000 and 50,000 doses had been airlifted to Mauritius and Seychelles, respectively.

      "As stated earlier, supplies as grant assistance to Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will be undertaken after receiving confirmation of regulatory clearances from these two countries. Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar", the spokesman said at a press conference, adding that India will continue to send COVID-19 vaccines to its partners in a phased manner in the coming weeks and months.

      When asked, Srivastava mentioned not being aware of any requests for shipping India-made vaccines to Pakistan on either commercial or government to government basis.

      Earlier in the week, India delivered free-of-charge domestically-manufactured Covieshield vaccine, developed jointly by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University, to neighboring countries, including Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal.

      In early January, India’s regulator approved the emergency use of Covieshield and Covaxin, developed by Indian biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech. The country started its vaccination campaign, billed as world's largest, on Saturday.

    • 13:32

      EU Members Allowed to Ink Deals With Vaccine Developers Unbound By Contracts With Bloc

      The member states of the European Union are allowed to individually sign deals with COVID-19 vaccine developers if they are not bound by contracts with the union as a whole, European Commission spokesman Stefan De Keermaecker said on Friday when asked about Hungary’s plans to purchase the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

      On Thursday, Hungary approved the use of Sputnik V and the AstraZeneca vaccine. Budapest also signed a deal in mid-January with the Chinese company Sinopharm on procurement of its vaccine. Earlier in the day, Budapest signed an agreement with Moscow to secure two million doses of Sputnik V.

      Meanwhile, only vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are approved at the EU level.

      "We have talked about this already extensively … The purpose of our vaccine strategy is to develop together with the member states a very diversified portfolio of different vaccines. In that context, you know that parallel negotiations with vaccine companies with whom we already have contracts or with whom we are negotiating contracts are not permitted. It is however possible for member states, if they wish to do so, to start negotiations or even sign contracts with vaccine developers that develop vaccines that fall out of the scope of our vaccine strategy", the spokesman said at a Q&A session.

      De Keermaecker added that the COVID-19 vaccines that are not approved by the EU and are used only by a specific member country should not go beyond nation-state borders.

    • 13:31

      WHO Panel Rules Out Pfizer Vaccine Role in Elderly Deaths

      The World Health Organisation's (WHO) drug safety panel said Friday there was no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had contributed to deaths in frail elderly patients, after such cases were reported in some countries.

      The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety met by video with experts from the EU medicines regulator and the UN center for drug monitoring to review deaths reported in Europe and elsewhere following vaccination with the anti-coronavirus drug developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

      "The available information does not confirm a contributory role for the vaccine in the reported fatal events. In view of this, the committee considers that the benefit-risk balance… remains favourable in the elderly, and does not suggest any revision", a statement read.

      The panel said reports did not suggest any "unexpected or untoward" rise in deaths in frail senior citizens or any unusual adverse events. Norwegian experts said earlier that side effects, such as fever, nausea and diarrhea, might have played a role in the recent deaths of 23 frail elderly people in the country.

      The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine approved by the WHO for emergency use so far.

    • 13:30

      Berlin Cancels Carnival of Cultures Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

      The Berlin Carnival of Culture that regularly attracts hundreds of thousands of people has been canceled over the coronavirus pandemic, the city authorities announced on Friday.

      "The district office of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg has unanimously decided that due to the Corona pandemic, no large events or festivals can take place in the district in the spring and summer of 2021 in public street areas or green spaces", the statement published on the official website of Berlin read.

      The cancellation also affects the MyFest on 1 May and the gay and lesbian park festival in Volkspark Friedrichshain in the summer.

      The Berlin Carnival of Culture features cultural performances and parades, and has been held since 1996. In 2020, the event was also canceled over the pandemic. This year, the carnival was slated for 21-24 May.

    • 13:29

      UAE Sets New Daily Record High of Over 3,500 COVID-19 Cases

    • 13:28

      Ethiopia Has No Contract With Russia for Sputnik V Vaccine Supplies, Ambassador Says

      Ethiopia has not yet signed no agreement with Russia for the delivery of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to the African country, Ethiopian Ambassador to Moscow Alemayehu Tegenu told Sputnik in an interview, adding that the home government is taking steps toward curbing the spread of the disease.

      "Until now, we do not have any specific agreement with the Russian government regarding Sputnik, but if we enter in to some agreement it will be based on Ethiopia's Vaccine Procurement regulations", Tegenu said.

      The Ethiopian leadership is actively involved in combating the spread of the coronavirus and works to make the vaccine available to the people, the ambassador added. 

    • 12:13

      COVID-19 Pandemic Forces 10,000 UK Pubs, Restaurants to Close for Good in 2020, Report Suggests

      COVID-19 Pandemic Forces 10,000 UK Pubs, Restaurants to Close for Good in 2020, Report Suggests

      LONDON (Sputnik) – Almost 10,000 pubs, clubs and restaurants in the United Kingdom were forced to close permanently in 2020 due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on the hospitality sector, consultants CGA and business advisory firm AlixPartners said in a joint report released on Friday.
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    • 12:10

      Russia Aims to Further Boost Cooperation With Hungary in Fight Against COVID-19

      Moscow wants to strengthen cooperation with Budapest in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday during a meeting with his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto.

      According to the Russian top diplomat, the fight against the global health crisis became a new area of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

      "I know that the test batches of our Sputnik V vaccine in Hungary have worked well. And we support the further development of cooperation in this area", Lavrov said

      On Thursday, Hungary became the first country in the European Union to authorise the emergency use of Sputnik V. According to Szijjarto, Budapest is in talks with Moscow to secure two million doses of the Russian vaccine.

    • 12:08

      France Records Over 130 Cases of Side Effects After Using Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine

      At least 135 cases of side effects after using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have been recorded in France, and nine elderly people have died after getting a vaccine, but the link between vaccination and the deaths has not been established, French National Agency for Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM).

      According to the agency, most of the 135 side reactions "are related to the expected or non-serious consequences," such as fever, a headache and nausea. In total, 31 cases of serious side effects were recorded, including four cases of tachycardia. ANSM made assurances that these cases will be investigated further.

      "Nine deaths were recorded among these serious cases. These were elderly people living in nursing homes, they had chronic diseases, and their treatment was difficult. Taking into account the data available to date, there is no reason to believe that these deaths are related to the vaccination", the statement said.

      The agency noted that it had not received any reports of side effects from the Moderna vaccine.

      The vaccination campaign in France, launched on 27 December has decelerated since last week. However, according to the latest data from the health ministry, over 823,000 French nationals have so far been inoculated against COVID-19, out of the 1 million citizens the government was planning to vaccinate by the end of the month.

    • 12:08

      Estonia Records 490 COVID-19 Cases, Country's Overall Tally Reaches Almost 40,000

      Estonia has registered 490 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the country's overall tally to nearly 40,000, the Estonian health board said on Friday.

      "COVID-19 was diagnosed in 39,701 residents of Estonia in various regions of the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 731,000 tests for coronavirus were made in Estonia", the republic's health board said on its website.

      Some 405 patients are undergoing treatment in hospitals, of which 31 are connected to a ventilator, according to the ministry. Over the past 24 hours, four people died from COVID-19, it said, adding that in total, during the pandemic period, coronavirus claimed 358 lives

      Meanwhile, Lithuania had confirmed 1,032 COVID-19 cases over the past day, and 29 fatalities, according to the country's COVID-19 response center.

      In total, Lithuania has confirmed 174,846 COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of 2,591.

    • 12:07

      Poland Conducts Over 600,000 Vaccinations Against COVID-19

      Poland has already administered more than 600,000 vaccinations against the coronavirus, Michal Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister's office, said on Friday.

      "603,809 coronavirus vaccinations have already been completed", Dworczyk, the government's vaccination commissioner, said at a press conference in Warsaw.

      Dworczyk noted that 1,257,300 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to the country, however, 1,905 doses had to be disposed of due to damaged ampules.

      During the vaccination process, 283 cases of negative side effects were recorded, however, the majority of them were not serious.

      Poland kicked off its vaccination campaign in late December, prioritising medical staff, the elderly, law enforcement officers, and other groups at high risk.

    • 12:05

      Nine People Detained at Dutch Airport Over Fake COVID-19 Test Results

      "The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee detained nine people on Thursday at Schiphol airport. They had false certificates about PCR tests [for the coronavirus], which claimed that they were not infected with the coronavirus", the police wrote on Facebook late on Thursday.

    • 11:57

      Zinedine Zidane Tests Positive for COVID-19

    • 11:44

      EU to Seek Clarifications With Pfizer on New Delays in Deliveries, Spokesman Says

    • 11:44

      Hungary, Russia Sign Agreement on Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine Deliveries, Foreign Minister Says

      Russian Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19

      Hungary, Russia Sign Agreement on Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine Deliveries, Foreign Minister Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Hungary and Russia have signed an agreement on Russia's coronavirus vaccine deliveries, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 11:27

      Europeans Become More Willing to Receive Vaccine Against COVID-19, Poll Finds

      The desire to take a vaccine against the coronavirus is increasing among the population in Europe, according to poll results from the YouGov polling company, published on Friday.

      "With coronavirus vaccination programmes continuing apace across the world, data from YouGov’s COVID-19 trackers shows that Europeans are increasingly willing to take the vaccine", the pollster said in a statement.

      According to the findings, people in nine key European countries — Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK — are considerably more willing to get injections.

      "The biggest increase has been in Sweden. In our first survey there in mid-November only 45% of Swedes said they would be willing to take the vaccine. That figure has since increased to 66% who would take the vaccine (or have already done so)", the statement read, adding that another country that also saw a similarly large increase is the UK, where 81 percent of people want to be vaccinated.

      Outside of Europe, attitudes towards vaccination are less consistent. In the US, 51 percent of the population have either received the vaccine or are happy to get one. In Asia, the most notable shift in the attitude since mid-December has been in Hong Kong, where willingness to take the vaccine fell to 36 percent. In the Middle East, the trend improved in Saudi Arabia, where 51 percent of citizens now want to take the vaccine, while it remained practically the same in the UAE — about 60 percent.

    • 11:04

      Kiev in Talks on Purchasing 1Mln Doses of Vaccines Against COVID-19

      Kiev is in talks with foreign producers on purchasing a total of 1 million doses of different coronavirus vaccines, Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of the Ukrainian capital, said on Friday.

      "I use all my international contacts and links to provide Kiev residents with vaccines. This is about purchasing 1 million doses of vaccines for inoculating 500,000 Kiev residents ... The city authorities have reached preliminary agreements with certain producers", Klitschko said at a briefing.

    • 11:01

      France May Impose Fines on Pfizer, BioNTech For Vaccine Delivery Delay, Europe Minister Says

      A medical worker prepares the first injection in the region of Madrid with a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at Vallecas nursing home as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Madrid, Spain December 27, 2020

      France May Impose Fines on Pfizer, BioNTech For Vaccine Delivery Delay, Europe Minister Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - France might penalize the Pfizer and BioNTech companies with sanctions for further reduction in vaccine shipments to the country, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune told the Europe 1 broadcaster on Friday, adding that the deliveries schedule is expected to return to normal starting Monday.
      Read more
    • 07:48

      British Covid-19 Variant Less Contagious Than Previously Reported, Denmark Claims

      British Covid-19 Variant Less Contagious Than Previously Reported, Denmark Claims

      If proven corrent, the Danish calculations may have far-reaching consequences for efforts to contain the mutated strain, including the pace of rolling back restrictions.
      Read more
    • 07:20

      France Makes Negative PCR Tests for COVID-19 Mandatory for EU Travellers Before Departure

      Effective from Sunday night, France has introduced a requirement for travellers inside the European Union to have a negative COVID-19 test before departure, in a bid to discourage non-essential travel, the Elysee Palace announced, as cited by media.

      According to the BFMTV broadcaster citing the presidential office said on Thursday that all European travelers would be required to provide a negative PCR tests for the coronavirus 72 hours before they leave the country.

      The new measure does not apply to border workers and those on "essential" trips. Notably, the negative PCR test was only required for people arriving from countries outside the European Union.

    • 07:19

      Czech Parliament Extends State of Emergency Until 14 February

      The parliament of the Czech Republic has voted to extend the country's current state of emergency over COVID-19 until 14 February, according to online media broadcasts.

      On 5 October, the country introduced a 30-day state of emergency, which was later extended several times. The measure has significantly curtailed public life in the country.

      Per the result, 54 lawmakers out of 101 backed the initiative.

      Speaking during the parliamentarian session, Prime Minister Andrej Babis asked lawmakers to extend the emergency until 21 February, citing the current situation in the country.

      As expected, the country's opposition expressed doubt in the necessity of the current restrictions and described the government's actions as haphazard.

      The ruling coalition of Babis' ANO 2011 party and Czech Social Democratic Party were supported by Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, which demanded resumption of classes for grade-schoolers and upperclassmen. The head of the health ministry, Jan Blatny, promised to do so.

      The debates over the measure were quite rowdy, featuring a clash near the speaker's stand as well as one overly excited lawmaker being made to leave the chamber.

      A total of 917,300 cases, including 14,973 fatalities, have been confirmed in the Czech Republic during the pandemic.

    • 07:18

      UK Considering Full Closure of Borders, Environment Secretary Says

    • 07:12

      US Comedian Dave Chappelle Tests Positive for COVID-19 Just Days After Hanging Out With Elon Musk

      Dave Chappelle

      US Comedian Dave Chappelle Tests Positive for COVID-19 Just Days After Hanging Out With Elon Musk

      Chappelle's shows, scheduled to take place from Thursday to Sunday at the Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas, have been cancelled, according to the comedian's representative.
      Read more
    • 07:11

      Denmark Suspends All Flights from Dubai for 5 Days

      The Danish government has temporarily halted air traffic with the United Arab Emirates for five days due to the risks of importing coronavirus mutations as well as to prevent fake tests for the disease, Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht said, as cited by media.

      "We have previously had imported mutated coronavirus cases from Dubai, and we cannot turn a blind eye to this. Therefore, all passenger flights from the UAE will be suspended for five days, until we can guarantee safety, and that the required negative tests are such, strictly speaking, that they are actual", Engelbrecht said, as cited by the Danish radio.

      He said that the ban on flights will come into force on Saturday.

      As of Friday, Denmark has confirmed nearly 193,000 COVID-19 cases with the death toll at 1,910.

      In the meantime, the UAE on Wednesday reported its highest number of 3,491 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, as the country’s borders remained open to tourists from across the world. Amid the surge in infections, the country on Thursday included Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use in the national vaccine portfolio, besides the US’ Pfizer and China’s Sinopharm vaccine candidates used in the mass immunization campaign.

      To date, the authorities reported a total of 267,258 coronavirus cases and 766 related fatalities.

    • 07:09

      Russia, Israel Discussing Cooperation in Joint Vaccine Production, Ambassador Says

      Empty vials of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are pictured at the San Martin hospital, in La Plata, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina January 18, 2021

      Russia, Israel Discussing Cooperation in Joint Vaccine Production, Ambassador Says

      TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Russia and Israel are discussing pooling resources together for joint production of vaccines against COVID-19, Russian Ambassador in Israel Aviv Anatoly Viktorov said in an interview.
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    • 05:36

      'C'mon, Gimme a Break, Man': Watch President Biden Brush Off AP Reporter's Vaccine Target Question

      FILE PHOTO: With a portrait of former President Abraham Lincoln hanging in the background, U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's plans to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during a COVID-19 response event at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 21, 2021.

      'C'mon, Gimme a Break, Man': Watch President Biden Brush Off AP Reporter's Vaccine Target Question

      As the United States has the misfortune to remain number one in terms of coronavirus cases and deaths, President Biden has signed a slew of executive orders in his first days in the Oval Office to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One of his goals is to get 100 mln Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of his presidency.
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    • 05:35

      Finnish Vaccine Professor Says Booster Doses Could Be Halved Amid Shortages

      A health worker receives an injection with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Fuentelarreina primary healthcare centre in Madrid, Spain January 18, 2021.

      Finnish Vaccine Professor Says Booster Doses Could Be Halved Amid Shortages

      Earlier, drugmaker Pfizer called the reduced deliveries a temporary issue, ascribing the delayed shipments to changes in its manufacturing processes designed to boost production and pledging to significantly step up production in late February and March.
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    • 05:18

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 14,545 Over Past 24 Hours

      India has confirmed 14,545 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 10,625,428, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 153,032 people, with 163 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. More than 10.28 million people have recovered in India since the start of the outbreak.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States, with more than 24.6 million COVID-19 patients.

    • 04:42

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Germany Surpasses 50,000 People, Robert Koch Institute Says

      The number of people, who have died of the coronavirus in Germany, has risen by 859 to 50,642 within the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

      Within the same period of time, the number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 17,862 to 2,106,262.

      More than 1.7 million people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

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