17:29 GMT17 May 2021
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    At the moment, over 123 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across the world, while the global death toll from the pandemic has now reached 2.72 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The US tops the list of the most affected nations with over 29.8 million infected and 542,000 deaths. It is followed by Brazil with around 12 million cases and a death toll of over 295,000. At the same time, India has the third-highest number of infections (11.6 million cases, around 160,000 fatalities), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world (over 198,000 deaths, with 2.2 million cases having been detected in the country).

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    • 03:10

      COVID-Related Restrictions Extended in the Netherlands Until April 20 - Prime Minister

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The restrictive measures introduced in the Netherlands in connection with the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been extended until April 20, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

      “At present, we cannot abandon the restrictive measures,” Rutte said at a press conference, adding that the measures had been extended until April 20.

      He also said that the curfew from March 31 would not start at 21:00, but at 22:00. Recommendations to refrain from traveling abroad remain until May 15.

      The Dutch authorities introduced an almost complete lockdown on December 15, 2020. All stores in the country were closed, except for those selling food and essential goods. Also, restaurants and cafes, museums and theaters, amusement parks and zoos, casinos and saunas, swimming pools, sports facilities, catering points, hairdressing salons, beauty salons and tattoo parlors were closed.

      In February, the authorities announced a series of concessions. The work of kindergartens, schools and secondary specialized institutions resumed, then the work of contact professions was allowed: hairdressers and beauty salons were opened. Some shops also started working.

    • 02:05

      Georgia Expects Delivery of Some 30,000 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine March 24 - Health Minister

      TBILISI (Sputnik) - Almost 30,000 doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccines are expected to be supplied to Georgia on March 24, Health Minister Yekaterina Tikaradze told reporters.

      "The promised 29,500 doses of Pfizer will be provided to Georgia tomorrow [...] after which they will be delivered to the National Center for Disease Control, and then, using the appropriate transport, the medicines will be distributed to those clinics where the immunization process will take place," Tikaradze told reporters.

      According to her, there is more trust in Pfizer among the population of the country than in other vaccines, but the complications of all vaccines may be the same.

      Tikaradze became the second official from the leadership of the republic to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. She was immunized at a clinic in Sachkhere on Tuesday. Earlier, President Salome Zurabishvili got vaccinated.

    • 23:07

      Iraq's Coronavirus Case Tally Tops 800,000 - Health Ministry

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of cases of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in Iraq has exceeded 800,000, according to the country's Health Ministry.

      The ministry said the case tally increased by 4,494 in the past day to 803,041. More than 723,000 people have recovered since the pandemic start.

      The death toll has risen over the past 24 hours by 30 to 14,066.

    • 22:53

      US Government Awards City of Boston $1.7Mln for COVID-19 Response Costs - FEMA

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The city of Boston has received a payment of more than $1.7 million from the federal government to help it cover expenses generated by its municipal responses to the COVID-19 pandemica, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced in a press release.

      "The City of Boston received over $1.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help reimburse expenses associated with COVID-19 response efforts," the release stated on Tuesday. "The grant of $1,781,624 is specifically awarded to the city for costs incurred for the 500-bed facility at the Boston Hope site."

      The Boston Hope facility provided non-acute care for the homeless during spring 2020 and the costs being reimbursed covered transportation, medical staffing and equipment, operations and management at the facility, the release said.

      "This facility provided respite and basic health care for homeless individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 but did not require hospitalization.[The] project is funded through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program that reimburses eligible applicants for actions taken in the immediate response and during recovery from a major disaster," the release added.

      FEMA awarded funding for these activities directly to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), according to the release.

    • 21:37

      Biden Says US Will Have 600Mln Vaccine Doses by End of May

      US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that 600 million doses of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus would be available in the United States by the end of May.

    • 20:19

      COVID-19 Cases Spike Amid Vaccine Shortage in Americas - WHO Regional Chief

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - More than 1.2 million people contracted COVID-19 in the Americas in the past week due to a surge complicated by a shortage of vaccines, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said on Tuesday.

      "We do not yet have the vaccines we need to protect everyone," Etienne said in a press release. "It’s what happens when the whole world must rely on too few manufacturers. We must also find ways to share vaccines more equitably among countries."

      In the past week, 31,272 people died from COVID-10 in the Americas, and more than 1.2 million people were infected, Etienne said.

      The pandemic is particularly dire in South America, where infection is reported to be spiking in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Guatemala and in the Caribbean nations of Cuba, Aruba, Curacao, and Antigua and Barbuda, Etienne added.

      Thus far, more than 155.8 million doses of a vaccine have been delivered to the Americas and immunization campaigns are underway in 33 of 35 nations that are members of PAHO.

      PAHO said it is also assisting the two member countries, Haiti and Cuba, that have yet to begin immunization campaigns.

    • 19:38

      India Extends Ban on International Flights Until April 30 - Official

      NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - India has decided to extend the suspension of international commercial passenger flights until April 30 head off the massive surge in COVID-19 cases across several regions, Sunil Kumar, director general of Civil Aviation, stated on Tuesday.

      "The competent authority has further expanded the validity of circular on the above subject regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30th April, 2021," the official statement circulated to the airlines, airports and immigration said.

      According to the document, international scheduled flights "may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case by case basis."

      The restriction does not apply to cargo flights and international flights allowed under the Vande Bharat Mission or under bilateral arrangements.

      The suspension was first put in place in March 2020 due to spread of COVID-19 in the country. On March 2, the aviation regulator had already extended the suspension for another month, set to expire on March 31.

      India has been recently grappling with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, the country registered 43,846 infections, marking another peak daily figure in nearly four months. The country has the world’s third-largest COVID-19 case tally.

    • 19:37

      Texas to Open COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to All Adults Next Week - Governor

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US state of Texas will open its novel coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all adults next week, Governor Greg Abbott said on Tuesday.

      "Beginning next Monday, Texas will [be] opening COVID-19 vaccine appointments to all adults," Abbott said in a statement.

      Abbott said Texas is getting higher volumes of vaccines and will administer more doses each week. The Governor noted that anyone 80 years old or older will be given first priority at vaccination sites.

      Abbott has already lifted the statewide mask mandate and has allowed all businesses in Texas to operate at 100 percent, however, businesses can still choose to enforce public health measures.

    • 19:29

      US Earmarks $1Bln to Battle COVID-19 in State Run Veterans Homes - VA

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Grants of more than $1 billion for state-run veterans nursing homes will help ensure residents are protected from COVID-19, the Veterans Administration (VA) said on Tuesday.

      "Too many Veterans residing in State Veterans Homes have suffered greatly during this challenging pandemic and it’s vital that we do everything within our power to help them through these tough times," VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a press release announcing the grants. "We are working to ensure our Veterans are protected and that their state-run homes are well equipped for the challenges ahead."

      The grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the release said.

      The ARP Act will provide $500 million for construction of new homes and $200 million for operating expenses, while the Cares Act will fund $150 million construction funds to modify buildings to mitigate COVID-19 risks and $100 million for emergency aid, the release added.

      State Veterans Homes provide nursing home, domiciliary or adult day care. They are owned, operated and managed by state governments as part of a network established after the US Civil War in 19th century, according to a VA website.

    • 18:37

      Canada Will Add Blood Clot Disclaimer for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

      Canadian health authorities plan to issue a disclaimer, warning of the potential for forming blood after vaccinating with the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, Health Canada Chief Medical Advisor Supriya Sharma said on Tuesday.

      Canada’s move will mirror that of European health regulators, who despite saying that the benefits of vaccination with the UK drugmaker’s vaccine outweigh the risks, decided to issue a disclaimer admitting that they could not definitively rule out a connection to the rare and unusual blood clot cases that caused a number of European nations to halt vaccination with the AstraZeneca shot.

      “Yes, we are looking at that. We were observers at that European Medicines Agency subcommittee meeting. We have looked at the data as well. So, we are in the process of making similar changes to the information for Canadian”, Sharma told reporters.

      Sharma also addressed reports of AstraZeneca’s lack of efficacy against the B.1.351 coronavirus strain, first observed in South Africa, saying that the vaccine still appears be effective in preventing serious illness in those who contracted the variant.

      On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency said that it had found no link between AstraZeneca vaccine administration and blood clots in inoculated people. The research was carried out following a decision of a number of European countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland and Norway, to suspend the use of the vaccine after reports on isolated cases of blood clotting in vaccinated people.

    • 17:20

      Kremlin: Putin Gets Vaccinated Against Coronavirus, Feeling Well

      Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with government members via a video link in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2021

      Kremlin: Putin Gets Vaccinated Against Coronavirus, Feeling Well

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Yesterday, the Russian leader announced he would be inoculated against the coronavirus on Tuesday. The Kremlin later clarified that the process of inoculation would not be broadcast.
      Read more
    • 16:10

      Bavarian Leader Says 3rd COVID-19 Wave in Germany Much More Dangerous Than Previous Two

      Markus Soeder, Bavarian federal state prime minister and leader of the conservative Christian Social Union party (CSU), believes that the third wave of the coronavirus in Germany is much more dangerous than the first two waves of the pandemic.

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel, following an overnight discussion with regional heads on further steps to respond to the spread of the coronavirus disease, said the quarantine in Germany was extended until 18 April, whereas related restrictions would be toughened during the Easter period - from 1 April to 5 April. The authorities urged citizens to avoid traveling domestically and abroad in 2021.

      "The situation is serious and it will become even more serious. The number of infected people is growing, it is growing every day. There is no way to ignore this, you need to face the facts - we have a third wave, which is much more dangerous than the first and second waves of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people underestimate the danger of virus mutations today ... This is, in principle, a completely new pandemic", Soeder said after taking part in the meeting with regional heads.

      According to the Bavarian leader, the German authorities believe that the growth of patients with coronavirus will increase in the coming days and thus extension of restrictions before and during the Easter holidays is necessary. Soeder noted that Bavaria is particularly affected by the new threat due to its border location.

      Germany has confirmed a total of 2.68 million cases of COVID-19 and over 75,000 fatalities.

    • 16:09

      UK Registers 5,379 New Cases, 112 New Deaths

    • 14:35

      EU Medicines Agency Chief Hopes Sputnik V to Be Authorised Based on Safety Standards

      Russian vaccine Sputnik V in the city hospital Leninskaya CRH in the city of Leninsk.

      EU Medicines Agency Chief Hopes Sputnik V to Be Authorised Based on Safety Standards

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Emer Cooke, the executive director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), on Tuesday expressed hope that the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine will be approved for use in the European Union based on safety standards applied to every other vaccine.
      Read more
    • 13:47

      EU to Start Legal Proceeding Against AstraZeneca for Insufficient Vaccine Deliveries

    • 13:37

      Spain to Ease Travel Restrictions With UK From 30 March

    • 13:27

      EMA in Talks With China's Sinopharm Vaccine Producer's Rep

      BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the main drug regulator in the EU, has been in contact with a company representing China's Sinopharm vaccine and hopes to bring it to the evaluation stage, Emer Cooke, executive director at the EMA, said on Tuesday.

      "I think you're probably all aware that a number of Chinese vaccines have been developed. We're in discussions with a company representing one of the Chinese vaccines, it's the Sinopharm vaccine, and we hope we will be at a stage to also evaluate that vaccine as well", Cooke stated at the meeting of the European Parliament's environment and public health committee.

    • 13:18

      Norwegian Prime Minister to Be Questioned as Suspect in Breaching COVID-19 Rules, Reports Say

      MURMANSK, Russia (Sputnik) - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has been declared a suspect in breaching COVID-19 regulations and will be questioned along with her husband, the NRK radio station reported on Tuesday, citing the country's police.

      According to the Norwegian broadcaster, the spouses are to be questioned later on Tuesday.

    • 13:18

      German Foreign Ministry Welcomes Idea of Creation of COVID-19 Certificates in EU

      "We decisively welcome the European Commission’s proposition on the 'green' certificate on vaccination. It is about to provide two principles in the EU: firstly, protecting the health of our men and women, secondly, the renewal of the free movement principle… The certificate could facilitate it", German European Affairs Minister Michael Roth said.

    • 13:15

      Mutual EU-Russia Vaccine Recognition Vital for Resuming Contacts - Business Association

      "It is clear that mutual vaccine recognition is an essential step for restoring business ties. Communication is very important for European businesses who are working in Russia and need to move freely. We hope that in fall a reasonable decision will be reached on this issue based on the balance of economic feasibility of epidemiological safety. We hope that the use of the vaccine will help to remove the restrictions as soon as possible", CEO of the Association of European Businesses Tadzio Schilling said at a roundtable organised by the Italian-Russian Dialogue Forum.

    • 12:55

      Malaysia Confirms 1,384 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:22

      Russia Can Produce Enough Coronavirus Vaccines to Meet Internal, Foreign Needs - RDIF

      "There are already seven factories operating for the Russian market, which are increasing their production capacity. The count is no longer tens of millions of doses, but more. Accordingly, Russian and international production sites are expected to release several hundred million vaccines this year. We believe that we will be able to fully satisfy the needs of the Russian market and also the needs of international partners", RDIF director Vladimir Primak said at an online press conference.

    • 11:55

      New COVID-19 Variants Caused Reinfection of About 1,400 People in Czech Republic– Official

      PRAGUE (Sputnik) - COVID-19 mutations, including UK and South African variants, caused the reinfection of about 1,400 people in the Czech Republic, Jan Kyncl, a representative of the National Institute of Public Health, said on Tuesday.

      "Now 81 possible reinfection cases are being checked. Besides, 1,456 possible reinfection cases were identified, where one out of two was without any symptoms", Kyncl said.

    • 11:22

      Public Inquiry Into UK´s COVID-19 Handling Will Depend on Circumstances, Health Minister Says

      LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday that the timing of a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on "circumstances," although he admitted that mistakes were made at the start of the outbreak one year ago.

      "It depends on circumstances", Hancock told ITV’s Good Morning Britain show when asked whether the investigation requested by the country’s political opposition and the general public would come before the fall or within a year.

    • 10:44

      RDIF Files Appeal to Include Sputnik V in COVAX Programme

      A Palestinian health worker displays a vial of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in Gaza City February 24, 2021.

      RDIF Files Application to Include Sputnik V Vaccine in COVAX Facility

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has filed an application to include the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the World Health Organisation-led COVAX vaccine sharing facility, RDIF Director Vladimir Primak said on Tuesday.
      Read more
    • 10:39

      Roche/Regeneron Antibody Cocktail Reduces COVID-19 Fatalities, Hospitalisations by 70%

      "Roche ... today confirmed positive topline results from the largest trial to date assessing a COVID-19 treatment in infected non-hospitalised patients (n=4,567; REGN-COV 2067). The phase III outcomes trial in high-risk non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19 met its primary endpoint, showing the investigational antibody cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death by 70% (1,200 mg intravenously [IV]) and 71% (2,400 mg IV) compared to placebo", the company said in a statement.

    • 10:37

      EMA Says Committed to Using Same Standards to Sputnik V Review as to Other Inquiries

      MOSCOW, March 23 (Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency on Tuesday emphasized its commitment to applying the same level of scrutiny while reviewing Russia's coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, as to any other assessment.

      "We’re currently planning inspections of the manufacturing and clinical sites in Russia, and I take this opportunity to stress again that we are committed to applying the same standards and scrutiny to this review as to any other scientific assessment", EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke told a European Parliament committee meeting.

    • 10:08

      'He Does Not Like It': Kremlin Will Not Broadcast Putin Getting Vaccine Jab Today

      Russian President V. Putin congratulated members of the Russian government on the coming New Year

      'He Does Not Like It': Kremlin Will Not Broadcast Putin Getting Vaccine Jab Today

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will get his coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of the day, this is expected to happen in the evening, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
      Read more
    • 09:44

      Poland Registers 16,741 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 09:34

      Boris Johnson Pledges to Ease UK COVID Restrictions ‘Once and for All’

      FILE PHOTO: Mounted police and a Deliveroo rider wait at a red light at Regent Street, one of London's main shopping streets, a day after a new lockdown was announced during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain November 1, 2020

      Boris Johnson Pledges to Ease UK COVID Restrictions ‘Once and for All’

      In late February, Boris Johnson announced a four-step roadmap to take England out of its full national lockdown, which is expected to be lifted before the end of June.
      Read more
    • 09:20

      Denmark Agrees to Re-Open When Everyone Aged Over 50 Gets Inoculated, Obtains 'Corona Pass'

    • 08:57

      Coronavirus-Linked Death Toll in Czech Republic Surpasses 25,000

    • 08:23

      Russia Records Less Than 9,000 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's single-day coronavirus increase fell to the lowest level since September 29, as 8,457 new cases were confirmed, down from 9,284 the day before, the coronavirus response centre said on Tuesday.

      "Over the past day, 8,457 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 945 cases (11,2 percent) without clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 4,474,610, with the rate of increase at 0.19 percent.

    • 08:20

      Vietnam Registers Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Against COVID-19, RDIF Says

    • 07:44

      AstraZeneca May Have Included 'Outdated' Information in Trials, US Health Agency Says

      AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured amid a vaccination campaign in Bierset, Belgium March 17, 2021

      AstraZeneca May Have Included 'Outdated' Information in Trials, US Health Agency Says

      Previously, use of the vaccine made by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant was suspended in many countries across the world after several people inoculated with the drug died of blood clots in their brains.
      Read more
    • 06:44

      UK Honours Memory of COVID-19 Victims as Nation Marks One-Year Anniversary Since First Lockdown

      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

      UK Honours Memory of COVID-19 Victims as Nation Marks One-Year Anniversary Since First Lockdown

      LONDON (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom on Tuesday is paying tribute to the memory of those who fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic as the country marks the one-year anniversary since Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the first national lockdown.
      Read more
    • 06:29

      Italian Institute to Test Sputnik V Vaccine's Efficacy Against Various COVID-19 Strains

      ROME (Sputnik) - Studies of the Russian-made Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, which are expected to be conducted at Italy's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI), will allow researchers to see if the vaccine is effective in the fight against the virus' variants, Francesco Vaia, the medical director of INMI, said in an interview with Sputnik.

      Last week, Vaia told the newspaper Il Messaggero that the Russia-based Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was going to send three staffers to Rome to join their Italian colleagues in studies of the Sputnik V vaccine. On Saturday, the president of the central Lazio region, Nicola Zingaretti, said that the INMI was ready to start lab trials of the Gamaleya-developed Sputnik V once the relevant agreement was reached.

      "We will conduct lab studies to see how the coronavirus strains such as those found in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, which troubled Europeans so much and which we have isolated in Spallanzani, are responsive to Sputnik V for the development of antibodies. If it shows efficacy against these variants, this will mean a big step forward for Europe, because obviously, it is extremely important for us at this time to have a vaccine that protects against different COVID-19 strains", Vaia said.

    • 06:21

      Ukraine Confirms Record-High Daily COVID-19 Death Toll of 333

    • 05:15

      After Four Deaths, Norwegian Experts Believe AstraZeneca's Vaccine May Be Stopped for Good

      A healthcare worker prepares a dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine

      After Four Deaths, Norwegian Experts Believe AstraZeneca's Vaccine May Be Stopped for Good

      Since the hiatus in vaccination due to an investigation of the AstraZeneca vaccine's severe side effects and possible deaths, Norwegians' willingness to inoculate has dropped by 11 percent. At the same time, the more contagious British variant appears to have become the dominant one in the Scandinavian country.
      Read more
    • 05:07

      One Year On: How COVID-19 Induced Lockdown Disrupted Workplaces

      India lockdown: Delhi police use coronavirus zombies to scare people off streets

      One Year On: How COVID-19-Induced Lockdown Disrupted Workplaces

      India has recorded the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections after the United States, with more than 11.1 million cases, and the third-highest number of deaths (160,000), after the US and Brazil.
      Read more
    • 04:26

      India Confirms 40,715 New COVID-19 Cases

    Live Updates: Spain to Ease Travel Restrictions With UK From 30 March
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