21:42 GMT22 April 2021
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    The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has now reached 104 million, while the global death toll from coronavirus is over 2.26 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The worst-hit nation is currently the US, with over 26.5 million infected and 450,000 deaths. India (over 10.6 million cases, more than 153,500 fatalities) and Brazil (almost 9 million cases, at least 217,000 deaths) come next, while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world (161,000 deaths, with only 1.8 million confirmed cases).

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    • 01:06

      Peru Registers Cases of Brazilian Strain of Coronavirus in Three Regions

      LIMA (Sputnik) – The Brazilian strain of the coronavirus has been detected in three regions of Peru: Loreto, Huanuco and Lima, Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti said.

      “The National Institute of Health has confirmed that the Brazilian strain of the coronavirus had been found in three regions of our country: Loreto (northeast), Huanuco (north) and Lima (center),” Mazzetti said addressing the Congress on Thursday.

      She added that the coronavirus of the second wave is more contagious than of the first one.

    • 23:05

      Johnson & Johnson Applies for Emergency Use Authorization of COVID-19 Vaccine - Report

    • 20:54

      African Nations to Receive 90Mln Doses of Vaccines Against COVID-19 in February

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - African countries are set to receive 90 million doses of vaccines against the novel coronavirus in February through the COVAX facility, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

      "COVAX has notified countries in Africa of the estimated dose allocation for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine delivery. The global initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance and The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) aims to start shipping nearly 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the continent in February, in what will be Africa’s largest ever mass vaccination campaign," the WHO said in a statement.

      The countries are required to submit their national deployment and vaccination plans to receive vaccines from the COVAX facility, the organization added.

      "The initial phase of 90 million doses will support countries to immunize 3% of the African population most in need of protection, including health workers and other vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021," the statement read.

      In total, up to 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are set to be delivered to the continent by the end of 2021.

    • 19:45

      Morocco Extends State of Health Emergency Over COVID-19 Until March 10 - Reports

      CAIRO (Sputnik) - The Moroccan government has decided to prolong the state of health emergency across the country until March 10 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, national media reported on Thursday.

      According to the MAP news agency, the Governing Council approved the draft decree on extending the period of the state of health emergency throughout the national territory as part of measures to curb the pandemic.

    • 19:25

      Merkel Says Coronavirus Incidence in Germany Clearly Down, But This Is Not Enough for Long-Term Cancellation of Lockdown

    • 19:17

      Lebanon Appeals to Russian Ambassador for Shipment of 200,000 Sputnik V Doses

      BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe has appealed to Russia, during discussion with Russia’s ambassador to the country, Alexander Rudakov, to expedite the shipment of Sputnik V vaccines to help inoculate Lebanon's most at-risk population, the Lebanese Foreign Ministry said.

      According to the ministerial press statement, Wehbe requested Rudakov to convey the appeal to Russian authorities to help the country inoculate 100,000 people of its most at-risk population with 200,000 doses free of charge.

    • 19:05

      Canada Expects Moderna to Underdeliver on Vaccine Doses Week of February 22, Official Says

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Moderna will not deliver the full shipment of 249,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses the week of February 22 that was promised to Ottawa, Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, Canada’s vaccine distribution czar, said on Thursday.

      "As for [the week of] February 22… the quantities that we expect to receive remain to be confirmed," Fortin told reporters "We do not expect to receive 249,000 at this time."

      Moderna has not offered an explanation for the downsized shipment, Fortin added.

    • 18:59

      Russia Will Continue to Accept Flights Under Open Skies Treaty for Now, Diplomat Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - For now, Russia will continue to accept and conduct observation flights under the Open Skies Treaty, despite the launch of the exit procedure, the next flights may take place within a month, Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, said on Thursday.

      "Russia always fully and thoroughly fulfills its obligations under international treaties, so that obligations under the OST will be fulfilled until Russia leaves it," Gavrilov said.

      He explained that since November, flights have not been carried out "including due to bad weather."

      "Traditionally, they begin in late February — early March. I think that it will be so now," Gavrilov said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper.

    • 18:41

      Austria’s Kurz Against ‘Geopolitical Taboos’ Over COVID-19 Vaccines From Russia, China

      "There should be no geopolitical taboos when registering vaccines. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), of course, should check the possibility of registering Chinese or Russian vaccines after their application," Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted.

    • 18:40

      Germany Detects New Coronavirus Variant Linked to Norway, Luxembourg in Halle

      A new coronavirus variant, known as B.1.1.6 and previously identified in Norway and Luxembourg, was detected for the first time in Germany, in the central city of Halle, Mayor Bernd Wiegand said on Thursday.

      According to Wiegand, one of the employees of a local hospital contracted the new strain.

      "This variant, known as Norwegian, or Luxembourgian, also has an extremely high infection rate", the mayor said in a statement.

      The B.1.1.6 variant reportedly originated in Luxembourg in late 2020 and it is not yet known if the strain causes more severe disease.

      The infected hospital employee is quarantined at home. It is unknown where she may have contracted the new variant.

      There are several thousand coronavirus variants circulating around the world but some strains cause more concern among health experts than others, including the UK variant and the South African variant, which are known to be more transmissible.

    • 16:33

      Italy's Death Toll Crosses 90,000 After Adding 421 New Fatalities

    • 16:01

      UK Reports 20,634 New Cases, 915 New Fatalities

    • 15:59

      Moscow Mayor Says Coronavirus Statistics Getting Increasingly Better

      The COVID-19 dynamics in the Russian capital gradually, but steadily improves, with figures having decreased to the level of early fall, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday.

      "The epidemiological situation today shows progressive improvement. Of course, it is not about one week or one day — no forecast or decision should be made based on this", Sobyanin told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

      According to the mayor, Moscow's COVID-19 dynamics has now neared "somewhere around late September to early October."

      Asked about the vaccination campaign, Sobyanin said that the city authorities had no such goal as to vaccinate the entire population.

      Moscow reported 2,095 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from 1,545 the day before. The city's total toll currently amounts to over 937,000 cases, including 13,701 deaths and more than 835,000 recoveries.

    • 15:54

      US Seized Millions of Counterfeit Masks Last Year, Customs Agency Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Customs officials seized millions of counterfeit face masks supposedly to protect against the COVID -19 pandemic in Fiscal Year 2020, more than half of them originating in China, Customs Border protection said in an annual report on Thursday.

      "CBP ... seized a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 related products that threatened the health and safety of American consumers", the report said. "These seizures included 177,356 Food and Drug Administration-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 378 incidents [and] 12,709,390 counterfeit face masks in 352 incidents."

      Customs officials also seized 38,098 Food and Drug Administration prohibited chloroquine tablets in 221 incidents, the report said.

      "Over half of these seizures, 53 percent, occurred in the express consignment environment; 24 percent were discovered in incoming mail, and roughly 51 percent originated in China", the CBP said.

      The agency also collaborated with partner government bodies to expedite medical supplies and personal protective equipment through the customs clearance process, while working to identify and intercept fraudulent, unapproved, or otherwise substandard material, the report added.

    • 15:54

      Half of UK Medical Workers Say Public Most to Blame for Recent Rise in COVID-19, Poll Shows

      Half of healthcare workers in the United Kingdom consider the public to be more to blame than the government for the recent surge in the daily number of new COVID-19 cases in the country, according to poll results from the YouGov polling company, published on Thursday.

      "Overall, half of healthcare professionals (50%) say they hold the public most to blame for the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the last month, compared to 35% who think the government is most to blame. One in ten (10%) blame neither more than the other", the pollster said in a statement.

      According to the findings, among respondents who are National Health Service (NHS) staff, 48 percent hold the general public accountable for the rise in COVID-19 cases, while 37 percent blame the government. Among those working in the private healthcare sector, 58 percent lay blame on the public, and only 27 percent on the government.

      "While there is some disagreement among healthcare workers about who is most to blame for the number of COVID-19 cases, there is clear agreement that the public is not taking the latest lockdown as seriously as the first (83%), including 38% who think people are taking things "much less" seriously this time around", the statement added.

      As for the general public, the vast majority — 72 percent — believe that UK citizens are not taking the current lockdown as seriously as the first one introduced back in March, the pollster said.

      The UK has experienced a spike in new COVID-19 cases and deaths following the emergence of a new highly infectious COVID-19 variant in southeast England in December. The discovery of the new strain prompted the UK government to implement a nationwide lockdown in England — the third one since the outbreak of the pandemic — in early January.

    • 15:31

      US Capitol Police Secure COVID-19 Vaccines for All Officers

      The US Capitol Police force (USPC), which suffered a mini coronavirus outbreak after the January 6 unrest involving a group of Trump supporters, managed to secure vaccine doses for every officer and staff, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said on Thursday.

      “Thanks to the efforts of the congressional leadership, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the administration, enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been secured to vaccinate all USCP personnel", Pittman said in a press release.

      Pittman added that the vaccine doses are expected to arrive “shortly,” with plans for shots to be administered by the Capitol’s Office of the Attending Physician.

      At least 38 Capitol Police officers and scores of National Guard troops tested positive for the novel coronavirus following the January 6 unrest at the Capitol by a group of protesters, who claimed massive election fraud cost former President Donald Trump his bid for a second term, according to media reports.

    • 14:58

      Uruguay Detects Brazilian Strain of Coronavirus

      "The P.2 variant [of the novel coronavirus] originating in Brazil has been detected [in Uruguay]", Health Minister Daniel Salinas wrote on Twitter.

    • 14:41

      New Delhi Says Gifted 5.6Mln Doses of India-Made COVID-19 Vaccines to Over Dozen Countries

      India has shipped about 5.6 million doses of domestically-manufactured coronavirus vaccines free of charge and over 10 million commercial doses to as many as 17 countries, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday.

      "We have so far supplied vaccines to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Brazil, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait and South Africa. Supplies made under grant amount to 56 lakh [a lakh is equal to 100,000] doses and commercial supplies amount to over 100 lakh doses", Srivastava said.

      Srivastava added that India was expected to start shipping its vaccines to the countries of the Caribbean Community, Pacific Island states, Nicaragua, as well as Afghanistan and Mongolia over the coming weeks.

      India is currently delivering domestically-manufactured Covieshield vaccine, developed jointly by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Oxford University. Apart from that, the country is also distributing the Covaxin vaccine, which is developed by Indian biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech.

    • 13:50

      US Weekly Jobless Claims Dip for 3rd Week in Row as COVID-19 Pain Continues - Labour Dept.

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US weekly jobless claims fell 4 percent last week, registering their third weekly decline even as the labor market and economy continued to struggle from the coronavirus pandemic, Labor Department data showed on Thursday.

      "In the week ending 30 January, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 779,000", the department said in a news release. It revised up claims in the prior week to January 16 to 812,000, from a previously published 847,000. That brought the latest week’s claims down by 33,000, or 4 percent.

      Claims fell 7 percent and 3 percent back-to-back in the prior two weeks.

      Economists polled by US media had forecast 830,000 claims for last week.

      Continuing weekly claims, reported with a one-week lag but sometimes considered a better gauge of the labor market, slid to 4.59 million for the week ended January 30 from a previous 4.79 million. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, slid to 3.2 percent from the 3.4 percent reported for the week to January 23.

      The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April, at the height of business lockdowns forced by the coronavirus. A rebound of 2.5 million jobs was logged in May and 4.8 million in June, before the recovery began slowing. For both September and October, less than 700,000 jobs were added each month. In November, there were just 245,000 additions, while December saw a loss of 140,000 jobs — the first such decline since April. January’s data will be published on Friday.

    • 13:25

      WHO Says Too Early to Exclude Seniors From AstraZeneca Vaccination Over Efficacy Concerns

      "We are clearly following closely the data that is being published with regard to the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine particularly in the older age group. I think it might be too early to conclude that this group should be excluded because the data indeed is demonstrating that this age group is reacting less than the younger population, but it doesn't mean that this age group has to be excluded from vaccination", Dr. Richard Mihigo, programme area manager for immunisation and vaccine development at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, told a briefing.

    • 13:05

      First Batch of Sputnik V Vaccine Arrives to Iran

    • 13:03

      Russia's EpiVacCorona Vaccine Expected to Grant Year-Long Immunity, Developer Says

      The EpiVacCorona vaccine developed by the Vector centre of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor)

      Russia's EpiVacCorona Vaccine Expected to Grant Year-Long Immunity, Developer Says

      Russian authorities officially registered the vaccine for further trials on 14 October 2020. So far, its immunological efficiency reached 100 percent, based on the results of the first and second stages of clinical trials, Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said.
      Read more
    • 12:06

      Georgia to Lift COVID-Related Restrictions Ahead of Schedule, Prime Minister Says

      "From Monday, 8 February, the operation of municipal transport will be resumed throughout the country ... Also, markets will resume work from Monday. From February 15, our children will continue their studies in classrooms .... From 15 February, catering facilities and restaurants will be able to start working in open spaces", Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at a government meeting.

    • 12:03

      China Issues Protest Against BBC Over 'Fake News' Coronavirus Coverage

      BBC logo

      BBC Hits Back at China After Beijing Slams Broadcaster for 'Fake News' Coronavirus Coverage

      According to Beijing, the broadcaster "linked the pandemic to politics" and "rehashed theories about covering up by China".
      Read more
    • 10:34

      New Coronavirus Variants Unlikely to Affect Effectiveness of Current Vaccines, UK Minister Says

    • 10:32

      First Batch of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine is en Route to Iran, Envoy Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus is currently en route to Iran, the Middle Eastern country's ambassador to Moscow, Kazem Jalali, said on Thursday.

      "As we speak, the first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine is in the air being transported with the assistance of an aircraft belonging to the Mahan Air company, and in a few hours the plane will land in the Imam Khomeini Airport, and the first batch will arrive on the Iranian territory", Jalali said at a press conference.

    • 10:25

      Norway Recommends AstraZeneca’s COVID Vaccine Only for People Under 65

      MURMANSK, Russia (Sputnik) - The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) recommended a COVID-19 vaccine, developed by UK drugmaker AstraZeneca, only for people who are under 65 years old, FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

      "The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway will only be recommended to residents under 65 years of age", Stoltenberg said, as quoted by the Norwegian NRK broadcaster.

      According to the FHI director, regulators in Sweden, Germany and France made the same decision regarding the vaccine.

      FHI specialist Sara Vatle said that there is uncertainly about the efficiency of the AstraZeneca vaccine for people above 65 years old. Moreover, there is also a lack of data on its efficacy among those who are over age 55, Vatle added.

    • 10:16

      Malaysia Confirms 4,571 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 10:12

      Hungarian PM Orban Hopes to Ease Lockdown After Easter

    • 10:03

      Split in Coalition Ranks? SPD Turns Against Merkel's CDU Amid Vaccine Row, Report Says

      Party secretary Lars Klingbeil, Norbert Walter-Borjans, Saskia Esken, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Manuela Schwesig and Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel, from left, during the  German Social Democrats, SPD, federal party conference in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

      Split in Coalition Ranks? SPD Turns Against Merkel's CDU Amid Vaccine Row, Report Says

      The SPD has repeatedly tried to benefit from the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccination campaign in Germany, which the party said trails behind other countries like the US, the UK, and Israel.
      Read more
    • 09:48

      IFRC Plans to Help Vaccinate 500Mln People Against COVID-19

      GENOA (Sputnik) - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching a plan to help vaccinate 500 million people who might be affected by inequality in coronavirus vaccine distribution, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said at a virtual press conference.

      "Our goal is ensuring equitable geographical access to the vaccines," Chapagain said at a virtual press conference. "Our plan is to reach 500 million people this year, 2021. But we will see whether we have to continue the campaign beyond 2021. We will adapt if we have to adapt".

    • 08:27

      Philippines Confirms 1,590 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 08:01

      Russia Registers 16,714 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia registered 16,714 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 16,474 the day before, taking the tally to 3,917,918, the coronavirus response centre said on Thursday.

      "Over the past day, 16,714 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 regions, including 1,704 cases (10.2 percent) that were detected among people showing no clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 3,917,918 with the rate of increase at 0.43 percent.

    • 07:50

      China Administers 31.2 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Nationwide

    • 07:36

      House Okays Budget Resolution to Pass $1.9 Trln COVID Relief Bill Without Republican Support

      The US Congress building. (File)

      House Okays Budget Resolution to Pass $1.9 Trln COVID Relief Bill Without Republican Support

      On Wednesday, President Joe Biden met Senate Democratic committee chairs as he called for urgency in passing a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that is opposed by the Republicans.
      Read more
    • 06:42

      UK Launches Trial Giving Volunteers Alternating Pfizer/AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

      A nurse prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020

      UK Launches Trial Giving Volunteers Alternating Pfizer and AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom has launched recruitment for the world's first clinical trial that will see volunteers given alternating doses of COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca/Oxford University and Pfizer/BioNTech, the Department of Health and Social Care said Thursday.
      Read more
    • 06:36

      Denmark 'Among the First' to Introduce Digital COVID-19 Passports in Hopes of Speedier Reopening

      female police officer holding smartphone standing near male police officer

      Denmark 'Among the First' to Introduce Digital COVID-19 Passports in Hopes of Speedier Reopening

      While the exact practical applications and repercussions of the digital documentation of one's COVID status are still under consideration, its primary purpose is to facilitate the revival of public and business life after a series of lockdowns. Still, many remain sceptical, fearing it will be seen as coercion and bolster vaccine reluctance.
      Read more
    • 06:01

      Japan Hopes to Hold Tokyo Olympics Even Without Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations– Committee

    • 05:12

      Sweden to Shut Borders for Arrivals Without Negative COVID-19 Test… Except Asylum Migrants

      Cars arrive from Denmark to the toll and customs station at Lernacken on the Swedish side of the Oresund strait

      Sweden to Shut Borders for Arrivals Without Negative COVID-19 Test… Except Asylum Migrants

      While dispatching soldiers to assist the police in monitoring the national border and upholding the government's entry ban due to a mutated COVID-19 strain, Sweden exempted asylum seekers from the new restrictions for humanitarian reasons.
      Read more
    • 04:44

      Thailand Registers 809 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 04:38

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 12,899 Over Past 24 Hours

      NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – India has confirmed 12,899 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, with the total number of those infected having reached 10,790,183, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday.

    Live Updates: Merkel Says Coronavirus Incidence in Germany Down, But Not Enough to Lift Lockdown
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