16:30 GMT21 April 2021
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is now over 2.3 million, while the total number of infected has surpassed 107,700,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The US tops the list of the most affected nations amid the pandemic with 27.3 million infected and over 475,000 deaths. Next come India (10.87 million cases, 155,000 deaths) and Brazil (9.7 million cases and a death toll of over 236,000).

    Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world (171,000 fatalities and under 2 million cases), while in Europe the worst-hit country is the United Kingdom (over 4 million cases, 115,000 deaths), as it is dealing with a new coronavirus strain.

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    • 17:41

      No Need for Panic Over New COVID-19 Variants, WHO Chief Scientist Says

      The international community should avoid panic when discussing the spread of new COVID-19 variants, World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said Friday, calling for a "more balanced approach."

      "We also have to take a more balanced approach and not really start panicking about these variants", Swaminathan said at a WHO press briefing.

      The expert stressed that the discovery of new variants was part of the natural evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

      "The issue of the variants, it's obviously making headlines everywhere, particularly in countries where they are being detected. This is the natural evolution of the virus, this is what viruses do, they evolve. It's just that our ability to track this evolution has become so much better now", she said.

      Several new highly infectious COVID-19 strains have emerged in countries such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

      South Africa halted the rollout of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine last week, citing a report that claimed the vaccine offered only "minimal protection" against mild to moderate COVID-19 caused by the new strain identified there.

      Swaminathan said earlier during the briefing that the WHO had received reports of individuals being reinfected with COVID-19 as a result of the spread of new virus strains.

    • 17:02

      Canada Records 651 Cases of Coronavirus Vaccine Adverse Reactions

      Canadian health officials have observed 651 cases of adverse reactions in patients who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, the country’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday.

      “As of 6 February, there have been 651 reports of adverse events following immunisation to date”, Tam told reporters, adding that 99 of the cases are considered serious.

      Tam stressed the agency monitors all adverse medical events following immunization, and that not all of the side effects are caused by the inoculation.

      Canada has administered 1,211,617 vaccine doses as of Friday, according to the COVID19Tracker.ca project.

      Several countries, including the United States, Israel and the Netherlands, have reported post-vaccination side effects among those vaccinated against the virus, and authorities are investigating reports of death following inoculation.

    • 16:40

      Canadian Provinces Report More Than 450 Cases of Coronavirus Variants, Health Official Says

      Health officials in eight of the ten Canadian provinces are reporting more than cases 450 of coronavirus variants, the country’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday.

      “There are now eight provinces reporting more than 429 [UK] variants, 28 [South African] variants and one [Brazilian] variant”, Tam told reporters.

      At least three of the provinces are reporting community transmission of the variants, with numerous outbreaks being identified in various settings, Tam added.

      On Thursday, an expert panel guiding the provincial COVID-19 response in Ontario projected that the UK coronavirus variant, which first appeared in the province at the end of December, would “soon dominate.”

      UK public health officials in December announced the emergence of the new coronavirus strain that is believed to be up to 70 percent more transmissible. The new strain was first discovered in southeast England in September and subsequently spread rapidly throughout the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

    • 16:24

      WHO Experts to Publish Next Week Preliminary Report on Visit to China's Wuhan

      The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) team investigating coronavirus origins, which is now on a visit to China's Wuhan, the world's first COVID-19 hotspot, will publish preliminary report next week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

      "I want to start by thanking all members of the international team for their work. This has been a very important scientific exercise in very difficult circumstances. The expert team is working on a summary report which we hope will be published next week, and the full final report will be published in the coming weeks", Tedros said at a briefing.

      WHO chief confirmed, after talking with some members of the team, that all hypotheses remained open and required further analysis and studies.

      "We have also said that this mission would not find all the answers, but it has added important information that takes us closer to understanding the origins of the virus. The mission achieved a better understanding of the early days of the pandemic and identified areas for further analysis and research", he said.

    • 16:12

      WHO Receiving Reports About Reinfections With New COVID-19 Variants

      The World Health Organisation (WHO) is receiving reports about people getting reinfected with new COVID-19 variants, the organization's chief scientist said.

      "We are now getting reports of people getting reinfected with a new variant of the virus and they've been some initial reports from South Africa suggesting that people who've had prior infection could get infected again", Soumya Swaminathan said at a press briefing.

    • 15:49

      UNICEF, Pfizer Sign Agreement to Deliver 40Mln Coronavirus Vaccines in 2021

      The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement on Friday it had signed an agreement with Pfizer pharmaceutical company to acquire 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine through 2021.

      "This supply agreement allows UNICEF to procure doses out of the up to 40 million doses that have been secured under the COVAX Facility’s Advance Purchase Agreement (APA) with Pfizer/BioNTech to be available throughout 2021", the statement said.

      Countries that were allocated Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses in the COVAX allocation will start receiving the vaccine as early as the first quarter of 2021, the statement said.

      It added that UNICEF has been cooperating with partners to ensure that governments have ultra-cold chain storage required to store and distribute coronavirus vaccines.

      The COVAX facility is a global initiative to provide the world with coronavirus vaccines affordable to all countries. It aims to distribute at least two billion doses of approved vaccines by the end of 2021.

    • 15:48

      Israel Extends COVID-19 Restrictions Until 15 February

      The lift date for the coronavirus-related restrictions in Israel was moved from February 14 to 15, according to a joint statement of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Health on Friday.

      "The COVID-19 council of ministers approved via a telephone voting extending the effective restrictions for 24 hours — until Monday, 15 February", the statement read.

      Israel lifted the third lockdown on 7 February but kept many restrictions in place. Citizens can now move farther than 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) from home, and food businesses can work for take away and delivery orders. Among public sites that became available for visiting again were national parks and reserves.

      The national vaccination campaign began on 20 December. To date, over 3.7 million citizens received the first dose and over 2.4 million both doses.

    • 13:42

      Japan May Formally Greenlight Use of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine on Sunday

      Japanese Health Minister Norihisa Tamura confirmed on Friday that the formal approval of the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could come as early as Sunday.

      "If everything goes smoothly, the [vaccine] will be approved on Sunday", Tamura said at the press conference broadcast by the NHK broadcaster.

      The minister added that the two-dose vaccine would be administered to people over 16 years of age.

      Japan is scheduled to launch its mass COVID-19 immunisation programme in February, starting with health workers. In total, Japan has secured more than 500 million vaccine doses ordered from several Western manufacturers.

      The island nation has confirmed over 412,000 coronavirus cases so far, with more than 6,800 fatalities.

    • 13:27

      Brexit Concerns Surpass COVID For Younger Adults, Whilst 'Loneliness and Anxiety' Are On The Rise

      Depression

      Brexit Concerns Surpass COVID For Younger Adults, Whilst 'Loneliness and Anxiety' Are On The Rise

      Unhappiness levels in the UK are at 'all-time high's' since the first lockdown, according to an extensive observational study from UCL, that included tens of thousands of participants over the last two years.
      Read more
    • 13:17

      Coronavirus Precautions Still Needed to Avoid Next Wave, Say Indian Medical Experts

      A man walks past a graffiti of people wearing protective masks amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on a street in Navi Mumbai, India

      Coronavirus Precautions Still Needed to Avoid Next Wave, Say Indian Medical Experts

      India, a country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, kicked off the world's largest COVID vaccination drive last month. The government aims to vaccinate 30 million frontline workers, including health workers, during the first phase of this drive.
      Read more
    • 12:43

      Belarus Approves Sputnik V Vaccine for People Over 60

    • 12:30

      Indonesia Reports 9,869 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:15

      Kazakhstan Authorises Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Against Coronavirus

      Sputnik V Vaccine

      Kazakhstan Authorises Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Against Coronavirus

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The development signifies that Kazakhstan has become the 27th nation to authorise the vaccine. Earlier in the day, the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that Sputnik V had been authorised in a total of 26 nations after Montenegro and St Vincent and the Grenadines greenlighted the medication.
      Read more
    • 11:45

      No Reason to Believe British Healthcare System Has Been Exceptionally Good Performer, Analyst Claims

      A veteran wearing a Royal Hospital Chelsea hat, and in PPE (personal protective equipment) of a face mask, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, stands outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London on April 28, 2020, ahead of a minute's silence to honour UK key workers, including Britain's NHS (National Health Service) staff, health and social care workers, who have died during the coronavirus outbreak.

      No Reason to Believe British Healthcare System Has Been Exceptionally Good Performer, Analyst Claims

      Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives – this is what Britons have heard for months since the outbreak of the pandemic. According to a report published by the Institute of Economic affairs (IEA), however, the NHS has not been the "star performer" in the battle against the coronavirus.
      Read more
    • 11:23

      Poland Raises Age Limit for Receiving AstraZeneca Vaccine to 65

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland has raised the vaccination age limit for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from 60 to 65 years, Michal Dworczyk, the government's vaccination commissioner, said on Friday.

      "After a painstaking analysis, the medical council has approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for persons aged 18-65", Dworczyk tweeted.

    • 11:03

      Russia's Gamaleya Institute Completing Phase 2 Trials of Sputnik Light Single-Shot Vaccine

      A medical worker holds a tube with Russian Gam-COVID-VAK (trademark Sputnik V) coronavirus vaccine at a Donetsk clinic, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Eastern Ukraine.

      Russia's Gamaleya Institute Completing Phase 2 Trials of Sputnik Light Single-Shot Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's Gamaleya research institute is completing the second phase of clinical trials of the Sputnik Light vaccine against the coronavirus, institute chief Alexander Gintsburg said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 10:24

      EU Watchdog Begins Rolling Review of German Biotech Company CureVac's COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Friday that it started a rolling review of the coronavirus vaccine by Germany's CureVac.

      "EMA's human medicines committee has started a rolling review of CVnCoV, a COVID‑19 vaccine being developed by CureVac AG", the EMA said in a press release.

      CureVac continues trials to assess vaccine safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness.

      "EMA will evaluate data from these and other clinical trials as they become available. The rolling review will continue until enough evidence is available for a formal marketing authorisation application", the press release read on.

    • 09:01

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Authorised in 26 Countries, RDIF Says

      A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Gam-COVID-Vac, trade-named Sputnik V, at a coronavirus vaccination center at a shopping mall, in Moscow, Russia.

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Authorised in 26 Countries, RDIF Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V has been authorised in Montenegro and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, thus bringing the total number of countries where it is authorised to 26, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said Friday.
      Read more
    • 08:31

      Philippines Confirms 2,022 New Coronavirus Infections

    • 08:17

      Russia Registers 15,089 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia registered 15,089 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 15,038 the day before, taking the tally to 4,042,837, the coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

      "Over the past day, 15,089 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 regions, including 1,764 cases (11.7 percent) that were detected among people showing no clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 4,042,837, with the rate of increase at 0.37 percent.

    • 06:39

      Ukraine Confirms 4,773 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 06:24

      Serbian Filmmaker Kusturica Receives Russian COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Renowned Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica has received the first dose of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, Russian humanitarian cooperation agency Rossotrudnichestvo said on Friday.

      "I have already got the first shot, the next one is slated for 17 February", Kusturica said, as quoted on Rossotrudnichestvo’s Facebook page.

      The filmmaker believes it is the Russian vaccine that has the trust of the majority of Serbs.

    • 05:47

      Norway Ponders Recommending Double Masking Against COVID-19 in US Footsteps

      Will wearing two masks better protect me from the virus?

      Norway Ponders Recommending Double Masking Against COVID-19 in US Footsteps

      Nearly a year ago, Norwegian health officials said masks were "a cultural thing" typical of parts of Asia and suggested they had few benefits. Now, Norway is considering changing its recommendations to include double masking.
      Read more
    • 04:40

      Cuomo Aide Reportedly Admits Hiding COVID Death Toll Data in Nursing Homes Due to Fears of Fed Probe

      SEPTEMBER 08: New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds an NHL New York Islanders hat at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City. Cuomo, though easing restrictions on casinos and malls throughout the state, has declined to do so for indoor dining in restaurants in New York City despite pressure from business owners, citing struggles by the city to enforce the state's previous orders.

      Cuomo Aide Reportedly Admits Hiding COVID Death Toll Data in Nursing Homes Due to Fears of Fed Probe

      Earlier in January, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report on the state's coronavirus death toll in nursing homes, accusing the Cuomo administration of concealing the true number of seniors who died of COVID in facilities for the aged.
      Read more
    • 04:37

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 9,309 Over Past 24 Hours

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    Live Updates: WHO Receiving Reports About Reinfections With New COVID-19 Variants
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