19:39 GMT19 April 2021
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    To date, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of at least 2.5 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    The US continues to remain the hardest-hit country in the world, with more than 28 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 registered since the pandemic erupted.

    It is followed by India (over 11.1 million cases, more than 157,248 fatalities) and Brazil (more than 10.6 million cases, at least 257,361 deaths).

    The global case count, meanwhile, has surpassed 115 million. 

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    • 03:29

      Share of UK Coronavirus Strain Among COVID-Infected People in Germany Grows to 46% - RKI

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - The share of the UK strain among the newly registered cases of COVID-19 in Germany has grown to 46 percent, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which is part of the German Ministry of Health.

      Two weeks ago, the proportion of the UK variant-detected people in Germany was estimated at 22 percent of the total number of registered patients with COVID-19.

      The RKI said that the proportion of the UK strain strain in the reported cases of COVID-19 would continue to grow. This, according to the experts of the institution, "causes concern" as the British version of the virus is considered more infectious. The proportion of the "South African" strain is estimated at one percent.

    • 03:24

      Over 2Mln People Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 in Mexico

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – More than 2 million people have received doses of coronavirus vaccines in Mexico, with about 590,000 people having got two doses, a senior health official said.

      “As of today, the whole number of the used vaccine doses stands at 2,633,580, with 1,973 doses [0.07 percent of them] lost during the vaccination campaign,” Ricardo Cortes Alcala, the director-general of health promotion, said on late Wednesday in a press conference broadcast in Twitter.

    • 02:06

      Peru Receives 1st Batch of Pfizer Vaccine Against COVID-19

      LIMA (Sputnik) – Peru has received the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez said.

      “The government is fulfilling its promises, and the vaccines continue to arrive in the country. We will not stop the vaccination campaign that started on February 9, and we will continue it until the last day of our rule,” the prime minister said on late Wednesday.

      The Latin American nation has received 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Peru is due to get 20 million doses of this vaccine. 

    • 02:04

      People in Austria, Germany, Switzerland Trust More in Russian Sputnik V Than in AstraZeneca's Vaccine, Study Says

      Laboratory workers work in the pilot production phase of Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus vaccine for COVID-19 at the pharmaceutical company Uniao Quimica in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

      People in German-Speaking Nations Trust in Sputnik V More Than AstraZeneca Vaccine, Study Shows

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – People in three German-speaking countries – Austria, Germany, and Switzerland – trust more in the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 than in the drug developed by the AstraZeneca company, a study of the Institute and Institute for Management and Economic Research (IMWF) said.
      Read more
    • 01:27

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Colombia Surpasses 60,000 People

      BOGOTA (Sputnik) – The death from the coronavirus in Colombia has increased by 110 people to 60,082 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The country has confirmed 3,047 new COVID-19 cases within the same period of time, with the total number of positive tests having reached 2,262,646.

      More than 2.16 million patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

    • 23:41

      US Reports 10 Cases of Vaccine Resistant Brazil Coronavirus Variant

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US health authorities have detected ten cases of the more contagious and vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant from Brazil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in the agency’s latest Morbidity and Mortality weekly report.

      “As of February 28, 2021, a total of 10 P.1 cases had been identified in the United States, including the two cases described in this report, followed by one case each in Alaska, Florida, Maryland, and [five cases in] Oklahoma,” the report released on Wednesday said.

    • 22:54

      Germany to Ease Restrictions in Regions With Low COVID-19 Incidence From March 8, Open Non-Food Stores

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - The German authorities have agreed to begin easing coronavirus-related restrictions from March 8 in regions with low incidence of the disease, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after COVID-19 consultations with heads of regions.

      "From March 8, retail stores can be opened in regions with an incidence below 50 [new cases per week per 100,000 population], with an incidence higher - through online ordering," Merkel said.

      "Also, with an incidence higher than 50, museums, galleries, zoos and botanical gardens can be opened if... the visit is documented, "she said.

    • 22:20

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Brazil Rises by Record 1,910 Over Past Day

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of the coronavirus in Brazil, has increased by record 1,910 to 259,271 over the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The number of confirmed cases has risen by 71,704 to 10,718,630 within the same period of time. About 9.6 million people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

    • 21:37

      First Cases of UK Strain of Coronavirus Detected in Moldova

      CHISINAU (Sputnik) – Moldova has detected the first several cases of the UK strain of the coronavirus, Acting Prime Minister Aureliu Ciocoi said.

      According to earlier statements of the national Ministry of Health, Moldova has no laboratory equipment to detect the UK strain of COVID-19.

      “The data of several patients have been sent to Germany. There are preliminary results that confirm the presence of the UK strain of the coronavirus, we are awaiting an official paper confirmation. This allows me to say that there is the UK strain of the coronavirus in Moldova,” Ciocoi told the Jurnal TV broadcaster on Wednesday.

    • 20:19

      Colombia Gets First of 28Mln Vaccines for Americas From COVAX

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The arrival of 117,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 marked the first distribution in plans by COVAX to supply 28.7 million doses to 36 nations in the Americas by May, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said Wednesday.

      In COVAX’s “First Wave” shipment, 117,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, PAHO said in a press release.

      “These first doses mark the beginning of a new phase of our COVID response,” Etienne said in the release.

    • 19:58

      Indian President Receives First Shot of COVID-19 Vaccine

      NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has received the first shot of a vaccine against the coronavirus at New Delhi's army hospital, the presidential office said on Wednesday.

      "President Ram Nath Kovind, accompanied by his daughter, was administered the COVID-19 vaccine at the Army R&R Hospital, Delhi, today," the office wrote on Twitter.

      The office added that the president expressed his gratitude to all Indian health care workers who were engaged in the country's nation-wide vaccination campaign.

    • 19:19

      US Progress Against Pandemic Stalls Amid Spread of More Contagious Variants

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A 3.5 percent rise in the number of US coronavirus cases in the most recent seven-day period suggests the nation is entering a critical phase in efforts to battle the pandemic, as coronavirus variants with increased transmissibility spread, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walenski said on Wednesday.

      "We continue to see troubling signs in the trajectory of the pandemic in the US, with the most recent declines in cases and deaths continuing to show signs of stalling. We knew that this could happen as variants emerged and reached more people and more communities," Walensky said during a COVID-19 Task Force briefing.

      The CDC director said the most recent seven day average of new cases - 66,000 - represented a 3.5 percent increase from the prior seven days and the latest seven day average for deaths of 2,000 showed a 2.2 percent increase.

    • 18:54

      White House Warns Against Relaxing COVID-19 Rules as States Ease Restrictions

      The Biden administration doubled down on warnings against easing the coronavirus pandemic restrictions amid decisions by some US states to ease or eliminate rules for masks, public gatherings and other mitigation measures, the White House COVID-19 Task Force said on Wednesday.

      "Now is not the time," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said. "The next month or two is really pivotal in terms of how this pandemic goes. As we scale up vaccination we really do need to decrease the amount of virus that is circulating as we’re trying to vaccinate all of the public."

      While the CDC warnings are not new, they take on an added urgency following Tuesday's announcement by Texas Governor Gregg Abbott to end all restrictions in a bid for a 100 percent reopening of the state economy, the COVID-19 Task Force said.

      "We hope that other elected officials who have authority in their domains will in fact listen," COVID-19 Task Force chief Jeff Zients said when asked about Abbott's decision.

      But Zients added that additional nationwide restrictions beyond those already imposed were unlikely because the Biden administration had use all available federal authority to impose rules, such as one requiring masks during interstate travel.

      In addition to Texas, several states responded to recent declines in coronavirus cases by easing restrictions. They include Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Mississippi.

    • 18:53

      Trudeau Announces $410Mln Investment in Canadian COVID-19, Indigenous Research Projects

      The Canadian government is investing $410 million to support COVID-19, sustainable development and Indigenous research projects at universities across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday.

      “With C$518 million [US$410.29 million] through the Canada Foundation for Innovation we are investing in groundbreaking research. This funding will support over 100 projects and hundreds of researchers,” Trudeau told reporters.

      The money will go towards projects, including speeding up vaccine production at the CHU de Quebec-Universite Laval, sustainability research at Toronto’s Ryerson University and Indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba, the Prime Minister’s Office added in a statement.

      In total, funding will be distributed to 35 universities, colleges and research institutions, predominantly in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, according to the statement.

    • 17:59

      Czech Republic Refuses to Purchase India-Produced AstraZeneca Vaccine

      The Czech Republic has received an offer to purchase one million doses of the India-produced AstraZeneca vaccine, but turned the offer down as the manufacturer's license does not meet the European criteria, Health Minister Jan Blatny said on Wednesday.

      Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said that the health ministry refused to purchase one million doses of the vaccine because of its high price.

      "We have received from the UAE an offer from a go-between to make a purchase in India. The issue was with the license, which does not meet the European criteria. We must purchase vaccines in such a way that the people's safety is maintained," Blatny told journalists.

      In the past week, the Czech Republic ranks first in the world in terms of the number of new coronavirus patients per 1 million population.

    • 15:41

      WHO Says Still Advises Against Vaccine Passports

      The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises against rolling out vaccination passports at the moment, Representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said on Wednesday amid the growing debate around the digital certificates.

      "The WHO has said that at the moment it recommends against such passports, but, certainly, countries are going their own way, and everyone is trying to allow greater mobility for the population. The WHO will cooperate with all interested countries, and at some point will provide its recommendation on what such a passport should contain," Vujnovic told the Rossiya 24 channel.

      With vaccine rollout, countries across the world are exploring how COVID-19 certificates and passports could help reopen economies and resume free travel. The European Commission is planning to present its legislative proposal for the so-called digital green pass next week, President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.

      Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier opined that coronavirus passports would violate the principle of voluntary inoculation and also run counter to democratic norms.

    • 15:05

      Over 5,000 Fake COVID-19 Vaccines Seized in South Africa, China After Interpol Alert

      Police in South Africa and China have seized more than 5,000 fake COVID-19 vaccines following a global alert from Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization said on Wednesday.

      "Some 400 ampoules - equivalent to around 2,400 doses - containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng [South Africa], where officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks and arrested three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national," Interpol said.

      In China, police busted a fake COVID vaccine distribution network, arresting some 80 suspects and confiscating over 3,000 counterfeit shots.

      The raids came after Interpol alerted law enforcement to the danger of organized crime networks selling coronavirus vaccines both physically and online.

    • 14:50

      Only Those COVID-19 Vaccinated Allowed to Work During Pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, Reports Say

      Saudi Arabia's authorities have required all those who will take part in the organization of Hajj — an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca — to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Jeddah-based Al-Okaz newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing the kingdom's health ministry.

      This year, Hajj is set to take place in July after the last time only those living in Saudi Arabia were able to participate in the pilgrimage due to the ongoing health crisis.

      "Everyone, who will work as volunteers and arrange the pilgrimage on the spot, must be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Employees, who will help pilgrims in Mecca, Medina and other places, must be protected from the infection," the ministry said.

      At the same time, the authorities have not mentioned the need of being vaccinated for pilgrims themselves.

      Saudi Arabia plans to vaccinate around 70 percent of its population by the end of 2021, with 885,000 people already being inoculated free of charge at 259 centres across the country. Along with that, pregnant women, children, allergy sufferers and individuals with lung diseases, are not required to get a vaccine shot.

    • 14:29

      UK to Allocate $2.3Bln for COVID Vaccination Program in 2021, Treasury Says

      The UK government will allocate an additional 1.65 billion British pounds ($2.3 billion) in the fiscal year 2021-2022 to roll out the vaccination program, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said.

      "Our incredible vaccination program has shown the world what this country is capable of, so I'm providing an extra 1.6 billion pounds today to continue the rollout and improve our future preparedness," Sunak said in parliament while presenting his budget statement.

      Of this amount, 28 million British pounds is expected to be allocated to expand vaccine testing capabilities, support clinical trials and improve the UK's ability to rapidly acquire samples of new COVID-19 variants.

      A study to test the effectiveness of combinations of different vaccines against the coronavirus, including research on the effectiveness of the third vaccine dose, will be funded in the amount of 22 million British pounds.

    • 13:36

      Russia's COVID Vaccine Sputnik V Green-Lighted for Use in Angola, Congo, Djibouti

    • 13:31

      Sweden Registers 6,179 COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours, 82 Deaths

    • 13:30

      Denmark Detects First Case of Brazil Coronavirus Variant

    • 13:01

      Total of 30% of Russians Should Be Vaccinated by May to Avoid 3rd COVID-19 Wave, Official Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The head of the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) expressed the belief on Wednesday that around 30 percent of the Russian population should be inoculated against the coronavirus by May in order to avoid the third wave of the virus.

      FMBA chief Veronika Skvorstova expressed confidence that Russia would manage to avoid the third wave thanks to its effective vaccines.

      "If a vaccine is 94% effective, like producers say, and post-vaccine immunity ... protects a person during six months, then we should inoculate either 25 percent of the population in a one-time campaign that will last no more than two months, or around 30 percent of the population if we let this campaign last until May, in order to completely avoid the third wave," Skvorstova said in an interview with Russia-24 broadcaster.

    • 12:25

      Poland’s Health Minister Says He Does Not Recommend Using Chinese Vaccine Against COVID-19 at the Moment

    • 12:15

      India’s Covaxin Vaccine Shows 81% Efficacy Based on First Interim Analysis, Bharat Biotech Says

    • 10:14

      Poland's Mabion Says Agreed With Novavax on COVID Vaccine Production Technology Transfer

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland's Mabion SA biotechnology company said on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with the US Novavax pharmaceutical company on the transfer of the manufacturing technology of the latter's COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

      "The Mabion SA board of directors informs that on March 3, 2021, [it] reached a framework agreement with US-based Novavax Inc, under which the [polish] company with the participation of Novavax will take measures to transfer the antigen manufacturing technology of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate ... and conduct commercial trials of the process at the company's plant," Mabion SA said in a statement.

      The agreement aims at including the Polish company's plant in the supply chain for the commercial production of the vaccine candidate, Mabion added.

      In late January, Novavax announced that its vaccine candidate had proved to be 89.3-percent effective at preventing COVID-19 in participants in its phase 3 clinical trial in the UK, and around 86-percent effective at protecting against the UK variant.

    • 09:33

      Japan to Extend COVID-19 State of Emergency for Tokyo by Two Weeks

    • 07:39

      Two People Die in South Korea After Receiving AstraZeneca Vaccine, Reports Suggest

      FILE - In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.

      Two People Die in South Korea After Receiving AstraZeneca Vaccine, Reports Suggest

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Two South Korean citizens, who had multiple underlying diseases, died after receiving AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine, media reported on Wednesday, citing officials.
      Read more
    • 07:04

      Indian Government Allows Citizens to Get Vaccine Shots 24/7

    • 05:13

      Japan Completes 1st Phase of Inoculating Medical Workers Against COVID, Health Ministry Confirms

      TOKYO (Sputnik) -  The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare announced on Wednesday that it has completed the first phase of vaccinating healthcare workers in the country against the coronavirus.

      The country began its mass immunisation campaign on February 17, with the first phase aiming to cover 34,772 frontline medical workers.

      According to the ministry, by Tuesday, all these people have received one injection of the two-shot Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which is so far the only vaccine authorised for mass use.

      The next vaccination stage is set to start later this week and cover some 4.7 million people in the medical field, while about 36 million people aged over 65 will receive shots starting April.

      Japan is set to receive another batch of 1.1 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by mid-March.

    • 05:12

      Number of New Global COVID-19 Cases Rises After Long Decline, World Health Organisation Says

      Syrian medical staff take part in a training exercise to learn how to treat victims of chemical weapons attacks, in a course organized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Gaziantep, Turkey, July 20, 2017

      Number of New Global COVID-19 Cases Rises After Long Decline, World Health Organisation Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of new global cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has risen over the past week after a long decline, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement.
      Read more
    • 04:45

      Germany Registers 9,019 Cases Over Past 24 Hours, 418 Covid-Related Deaths

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    Live Updates: Germany to Start Easing COVID-Related Restrictions From March 8, Merkel Says
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