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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (321)
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    The death toll from the coronavirus infection across the world topped 2.227 million as of Sunday; over 102.9 million cases of the infection have been detected, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The United States, 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, Mexico and India, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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    • 03:28

      BioNTech Says Plans to Manufacture 2 Billion Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine in 2021

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - German company BioNTech plans to produce two billion doses of coronavirus vaccine in 2021 due to increased global demand, the company said in a statement.

      "In order to respond to an increased global demand, we plan to manufacture two billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 by expanding the previously expected output of 1.3 billion doses by more than 50%," it said.

      "We are on track to scale-up our manufacturing capacities," the statement said.

    • 02:51

      Moderna Wants to Fill Up Coronavirus Vaccine Vials With More Doses

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moderna Inc. is proposing to fill up vials with coronavirus vaccines with additional doses, the company’s president, Stephen Hoge, has announced.

      "As the company is approaching the manufacturing of almost a million doses a day, in order to address one of the manufacturing bottlenecks and to allow for additional production, the company is proposing filling vials with additional doses of vaccine, up to 15 doses versus the current 10 doses. One of the capacity constraints beyond the amount of drug product available, is how many vials you can fill in a given period of time," Hoge said on Monday, as quoted by CNBC.

      He added that Moderna still needs to discuss its plans with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    • 02:02

      Morocco Extends Curfew, Other Restrictions in Connection With COVID-19

      RABAT (Sputnik) - Morocco is extending restrictions in connection with COVID-19 by two weeks, including curfew, according to a government statement obtained by Sputnik.

      The decision takes effect on February 2.

      It was made "in connection with the development of the epidemiological situation in the world after the appearance of new strains of coronavirus in a number of neighboring countries," according to the statement.

    • 01:00

      Brazil's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 225,000

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The coronavirus death toll in Brazil increased by 595 in the past day to top 225,000, the country's Ministry of Health said in a statement.

      The number of deaths associated with COVID-19 has reached 225,099, the ministry said.

      Over the past 24 hours, Brazilian has registered 24,591 new cases of infection.

    • 23:59

      Saudi Arabia Could Face Another Wave of COVID-19, Health Ministry Warns

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Saudi Arabian Health Minister Tawfig Al Rabiah warns that another wave of the coronavirus infection is possible in the country and people need to adhere to the current preventive measures.

      "In recent weeks, we have seen a noticeable and consistent rise in the number of coronavirus cases in most regions; compared to the figures of the first week of January, the increase [in the number of cases] has been 200%, one of the main reasons for which is [[public] gatherings," the minister said.

      He warned that if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, Saudi Arabia will have to deal with a situation that many countries face: an overwhelmed healthcare system.

      "If gatherings and neglect of preventive measures continue, we will have a second wave [of the coronavirus infection]," Tawfig Al Rabiah said.

    • 23:13

      Palestine Extends State of Emergency Over COVID-19 for Month - Reports

      GAZA (Sputnik) - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has extended the state of emergency over the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for a month, WAFA reported.

      “We have decided to extend the state of emergency in Palestine for another 30 days, starting tomorrow, February 2,” Abbas said.

    • 21:30

      Coronavirus Can Be Controlled, WHO Chief Says, Pointing to Decrease in Number of New Cases

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The global decrease in the number of new emerging cases of COVID-19 suggests that the virus can be controlled regardless of its mutations, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

      "For the third week in a row, the number of new cases of #COVID19 reported globally fell last week. There are still many countries with increasing numbers of cases, but at the global level, this is encouraging news," Tedros said at a Monday briefing, adding "It shows this virus can be controlled, even with the new variants in circulation."

      The WHO chief warned governments against opening up too quickly, as that could enable the coronavirus to come back in full strength. Tedros said governments need to make appropriate adjustments, such as making quarantine measures easier to adhere to.

      "Controlling the spread of the #COVID19 virus saves lives now, and saves lives later by reducing the chances of more variants emerging. And it helps to ensure vaccines remain effective," Tedros said.

    • 19:59

      Austria to Ease Lockdown From Monday But Restrictions May Return, Kurz Says

      VIENNA (Sputnik) - Austria will loosen its strict lockdown from February 8 after seeing coronavirus cases go down a notch but will be ready to shut business again if there is an "explosive surge," the chancellor said.

      "We will assess the situation on February 15 to consider further opening … But if, on the contrary, the situation worsens we will naturally consider further steps," Sebastian Kurz warned on Monday.

      Stores, museums, zoos, as well as barbershops and other services that require close contact with a client will reopen. Customers will need to wear FFP2 masks in stores, while barbershop clients will first have to test for COVID-19.

      Pupils will return from home learning from February 8 in Vienna and Lower Austria and from February 15 in the remaining seven states. They will be tested for the coronavirus at school every two days.

      Kurz said that, depending on the success of the reopening, the government will consider lifting restrictions on tourism, restaurants, cultural venues and sports starting in March.

    • 19:04

      Russia Extends Suspension of Flights With UK Until February 16

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has extended the suspension of flights with the United Kingdom until 23.59 on February 16, the federal coronavirus response center told reporters.

      "The response center to prevent the import and spread of the new coronavirus infection in Russia decided to extend the suspension of flights with the UK. To ensure the protection of public health, the restrictions have been extended to 23:59 on February 16, 2021," the statement says.

    • 18:32

      EU Drug Regulator Starts Rolling Review of Prospective COVID-19 Medication

      The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Monday it began the rolling review of an experimental therapeutic drug against COVID-19 that is potentially capable of reducing the amount of virus in the blood of non-hospitalized patients.

      The drug, labeled REGN-COV2, was produced by US biotechnology firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Swedish pharmaceutical company F. Hoffman-La Roche. It uses a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, which prevent the coronavirus from entering the body's cells by attaching to its spike protein at two different sites.

      "The [EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use]'s decision to start the rolling review is based on preliminary results from a study that indicate a beneficial effect of the medicine in reducing the amount of virus in the blood (viral load) in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19. However, EMA has not yet evaluated the full study and it is too early to draw any conclusions regarding the benefit-risk balance of the medicine," the regulator said in a press release.

      The study so far only includes data from labs and trials on animals, but the EMA said it would continue until enough evidence is collected from clinical trials on humans to support a formal marketing authorization application.

      "While the overall review timeline cannot be forecast yet, the process should be shorter than a regular evaluation due to the time gained during the rolling review," the press release read.

      The regulator said the drug would be probed against the usual standards for effectiveness, safety and quality. The data from further studies will be incorporated into the probe as it becomes available, which is what makes rolling reviews shorter than regular evaluations.

    • 18:23

      UK Plans Mass Testing Amid Community Spread of South African Strain

      All residents of eight areas in England will be tested for the new coronavirus after patients with no travel history were found to carry the South African strain, the UK health department said Monday.

      "Extensive surveillance of the virus has identified a small number of cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa in localities across England, that cannot be traced back to international travel," a press release read.

      The affected areas are in London, West Midlands. East of England, South East and North West.

      "Every person over 16 living in these locations is strongly encouraged to take a COVID test this week, whether they are showing symptoms or not," the health authority said.

      Overall, 105 cases of the worrisome South African mutation have been found in the country since December, including the new 11 ones with no links to international travel, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

      "There is currently no evidence to suggest this variant is any more severe, but we need to come down on it hard and we will," he told reporters.

      The people who have tested positive for the fast-spreading viral strain are isolating at home and health authorities have done "enhanced contact tracing" to identify others at risk of contracting the disease, the secretary said.

    • 18:19

      S.African President Personally Greets First Shipment of COVID-19 Vaccine at Airport

      South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza personally greeted the long-awaited first batch of one million doses of India-made COVID-19 vaccine at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Monday, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

      The vaccine, developed by the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford and produced by the Serum Institute of India, is expected to first undergo additional testing before it is eventually rolled out in two weeks’ time. The second batch of 500,000 doses is expected to arrive later in February.

      The African country plans to vaccinate 1.2 million frontline workers in the first phase of the inoculation campaign. During the next phase, essential workers, the elderly citizens and people with underlying health conditions will receive vaccine shots.

      South Africa has the largest tally of COVID-19 cases on the continent. The country has so far logged over 1.4 million cases, including almost 1.3 million recoveries and some 44,000 deaths.

    • 17:45

      Prague, Budapest to Discuss Sputnik V Efficacy This Week, Adviser to Czech Prime Minister

      Representatives of the Czech Republic plan to discuss the efficacy of Russia’s vaccine against COVID-19, Sputnik V, with their colleagues from Hungary this week, Roman Prymula, a current health adviser to the prime minister and a former health minister, said on Monday.

      The Russian Direct Investment Fund filed an application for Sputnik V registration in the EU in January, but so far Hungary is the only member state to greenlight the use of the vaccine. Other EU countries have been using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after they were approved by the EU drug regulator. The union also added the AstraZeneca's vaccine to its toolbox on Friday, but deliveries of all three vaccines have been slow.

      "When Sputnik V is approved for use in Europe, its deliveries to member states will again be centralized [via Brussels], we will have to queue up and receive the vaccine doses. To avoid this [and agree on the supplies directly from Russia], it is possible to get materials from Hungary now on how the Sputnik V vaccination is going on in this country. Last week, a discussion on this issue took place in our [Czech] Cabinet, and this week, negotiations with Hungarian partners are scheduled," Prymula told the Czech TV Seznam broadcaster.

      According to Prymula, Prime Minister Andrej Babis is briefed about the issue of delays in vaccine deliveries to the EU and has expressed his disappointment. The Czech Republic has so far received slightly over 372,000 vaccine doses, and the inoculation campaign is behind the schedule.

      The government previously aimed to end the vaccination campaign by late September but now the Health Ministry is reluctant to announce an exact date.

      As of now, about 269,000 residents of the Czech Republic have received the first dose of a vaccine, but fewer than 38,000 have been fully vaccinated.

    • 17:26

      Germany Counts on Vaccine Makers to Deliver 323.5Mln Doses by Year-End, Reports Say

      Germany expects to receive 323.5 million doses of various vaccines against the coronavirus by the end of the year, according to the cabinet’s estimates seen by the Spiegel.

      The government has deduced from the EU’s advance purchase agreements with six drugmakers that 18.3 million doses could be delivered by the end of this quarter, 77.1 million in the second, 126.6 million in the third, and 100.2 million in the fourth.

      "Concrete supply deadlines and volumes… depend on numerous factors, primarily on clinical trials, official certification results, production, ingredient supply chains, and the outcome of quality controls," the official paper read.

      These calculations suggest that Germany would have enough vaccine doses to immunize the entire population, the news website said. The vaccination rollout will peak in the third quarter, a month later that Health Minister Jens Spahn initially promised.

    • 17:06

      Sputnik V Vaccine Trials in Venezuela Show 100% Efficacy, Maduro Says

      Clinical trials of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in Venezuela have shown its 100 percent efficacy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said.

      "We have conducted trials of the Russian vaccine. It showed 100 percent efficacy," he said in an interview with journalist Breno Altman.

      Venezuela previously registered Sputnik V and signed a contract with Russia to vaccinate 10 million people with the vaccine. Caracas expects to receive the first batch of 10 million doses soon to start mass vaccinations immediately.

    • 16:14

      Seven Spanish Care Facility Residents Die After Receiving Pfizer Vaccine, Reports Say

    • 15:37

      Nationwide Lockdown in Germany Reduces COVID-19 Infections, Government Says

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - Germany is witnessing a drop in new COVID-19 cases, which according to government officials, is a result of the prolonged lockdown.

      "This is good news. The number of new patients is decreasing. Last week the Robert Koch Institute reported an incidence rate of less than 100 for the first time in three months. ... The number of patients who require treatment in the intensive care unit is also dropping. ... We see that concerted measures and joint efforts to reduce social contacts are having the desired effect," deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz told reporters on Monday.

      Germany extended the nationwide lockdown, which was introduced on November 2, until February 14, and vowed to speed up its vaccine rollout.

      The European country has confirmed more than 2 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak, with almost coronavirus related 57,000 deaths.

    • 15:30

      German Health Ministry Mulls Immunity Passports As Calls Grow to Reopen Border

    • 14:39

      Armenia Authorises Use of Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Armenian Health Ministry authorized the use of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.

      "The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) announces that the Sputnik V vaccine has been approved by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia," the fund said.

      The decision was made based on data from phase III clinical trials in Russia without additional studies in Armenia, the RDIF noted.

      The Sputnik V vaccine is currently registered in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea and Tunisia.

    • 13:57

      UK Detected 105 Cases of S. African COVID-19 Strain Since 22 December, Health Ministry Says

    • 12:37

      Spain Expects to Receive 2.3 Mln Doses of Coronavirus Vaccine in February, Health Minister Says

    • 12:25

      UK Has Supplies to Vaccinate People with Second Jab Within 12 Weeks, PM Johnson Says

    • 12:21

      Italy Reopens Colosseum Amid Relaxation of COVID-19 Restrictions

    • 12:14

      Poland Detects Coronavirus in Mink, Agriculture Ministry Confirms

    • 12:13

      Europe Needs to Act Quicker and More Efficiently to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccines to its Population, French President Macron Says

    • 11:48

      Coronavirus Pandemic Had Minimal Impact on the Stability of Israel's Financial System, Bank of Israel Says

    • 10:09

      US Capitol Police Wives Slam Acting Chief for Lack of COVID-19 Protection

      U.S. Capitol police officers take positions as protestors enter the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.

      'Affected Our Children': US Capitol Police Wives Slam Acting Chief for Lack of COVID-19 Protection

      In the wake of the 6th January protests in Washington, DC, the acting Capitol Police Chief told Congress that “the department should have been more prepared for this attack”.
      Read more
    • 09:25

      India to Spend $4.7 Billion to Boost Covid Vaccination Drive

      Indian money

      India to Spend $4.7 Billion to Boost Covid Vaccination Drive

      India's finance minister presented her budget as the nation's economy continues to reel from the effects of the global pandemic. She said that health and well-being were, together, one of the pillars on which this year’s budget rested.
      Read more
    • 09:24

      Russia's COVID-19 Vaccines Deemed Safe, Should Be in Use, Security Council Deputy Chair Says

      A handout photo shows an employee demonstrating a vial with Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), during its production at Binnopharm pharmaceutical company in Zelenograd near Moscow, Russia August 7, 2020

      Russia's COVID-19 Vaccines Deemed Safe, Should Be in Use, Security Council Deputy Chair Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's vaccines against COVID-19 have been tested and found to be safe and the main focus is to use these vaccines, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Russian media.
      Read more
    • 09:22

      UK Buys Another 40Mln Doses of French COVID-19 Vaccine Valneva, Government Says

      LONDON (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom secured on Monday 40 million extra doses of the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine candidate, taking to 100 million the total number of doses it has purchased from the French biotech company, the UK government announced.

      “The decision to purchase 40 million extra doses is based on the UK’s strategy to take a wide approach, using different technologies and viral targets to ensure the UK has the best chance of securing access to successful vaccines as quickly as possible. It will also give the UK future flexibility should we need to revaccinate any of the population,” the official statement said.

      The 100 million doses will be manufactured at Valneva’s site West Lothian, Scotland, where production started last week.

      The vaccine could be rolled out at the end of the year provided it meets the safety and effectiveness standards set by the UK regulatory agency.

      “If approved, Valneva’s vaccine will not only help tackle Covid-19 here in the UK, but aid our mission to ensure there is a fair supply of vaccines across the globe,” Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said, as quoted in the statement.

      The UK, with a population of 66 million, has already ordered over 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from seven different manufacturers, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca, whose vaccines are being rolled out as part of a vaccination campaign that started in December, 2020.

      As of Sunday, nearly nine million people from the priority groups -over 70s, health and care home workers and vulnerable patients – had received their first dose.

    • 09:14

      Bayer Announces First Doses of Curevac Vaccine to be Produced by End of 2021

    • 08:56

      Pfizer/BioNTech Announces Delivery of up to 75 Mln Doses of Vaccine to EU in Q2

    • 08:38

      France Plans to Vaccinate 2.5 Mln People by End of February, Gov’t Spokesman Says

    • 07:14

      AstraZeneca Vaccine to Arrive in France by Next Week

    • 07:05

      New COVID-19 Lockdown Can Only be Last Resort, French Finance Minister Says

    • 06:34

      UK Orders 40 Mln More Doses of Valneva's COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

    • 06:11

      Medvedev Says Inoculated Against Coronavirus With Russian Vaccine

      Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said he was inoculated with a Russian vaccine against the coronavirus.

      "I got vaccinated around two months ago ... with one of the Russian vaccines. Why do I put it this way? Because I do not want to create an impression that some vaccine is better than the others," Medvedev said in an interview with the Russian media.

      All the three Russian vaccines registered by the health ministry are efficient, and one should make a choice following consultations with doctors, the deputy chairman of the security council noted.

      Medvedev also noted he did not show any unpleasant reaction to the vaccine.

      "It was all very smooth ... With no consequences," Medvedev recalled.

    • 04:50

      Pakistan Receives First Batch of COVID-19 Vaccines From China

    • 04:49

      India Registers 11,427 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:25

      Ireland Reports 1,247 New COVID-19 Cases

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    Live Updates: Ireland Reports 1,247 New COVID-19 Cases
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (321)
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