11:43 GMT15 April 2021
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 2.85 million, and over 131 million cases of 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 the worst-hit in terms of the number of registered coronavirus cases, 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.

    More than 4 million coronavirus vaccine doses were administered in the United States over a 24-hour period, setting a new record, Dr Cyrus Shahpar, COVID-19 Data Director at the White House, said.

    Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce "vaccine passport" trials on Monday following the easing of current lockdown measures.

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    • 03:41

      Argentine President Not Sick With New Strains of COVID-19 - Doctors

      Argentine President Not Sick With New Strains of COVID-19 - Doctors

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The disease of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez is not associated with new strains of COVID-19, the president's medical team said in a report.

      "Sequencing of the entire genome of SARS-CoV-2 was carried out. The type found does not correspond to a single new type that has become widespread and is of concern," the report says.

      Fernandez feels good, is in a stable condition, and has a good prognosis for his health.

      Fernandez tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3. On the same day, doctors assessed the president's health as stable. He had no symptoms of the disease.

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The disease of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez is not associated with new strains of COVID-19, the president's medical team said in a report.

      "Sequencing of the entire genome of SARS-CoV-2 was carried out. The type found does not correspond to a single new type that has become widespread and is of concern," the report says.

      Fernandez feels good, is in a stable condition, and has a good prognosis for his health.

      Fernandez tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3. On the same day, doctors assessed the president's health as stable. He had no symptoms of the disease.

    • 02:02

      Over 1 Million Mexicans Inoculated Against COVID With Two Vaccine Doses - Health Ministry

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - More than 1 million people participating in the Mexican coronavirus immunization program have been inoculated with two doses of vaccines, the country's Health Ministry said.

      “Today we are seeing a significant increase in the number of full vaccine schemes applied - more than 1.174 million people have received two doses or, in the case of single-component vaccines, one dose,” Jose Luis Alomia, director of epidemiology at the Mexican Secretariat of Health, said during a press conference broadcast on Twitter.

      Since the beginning of vaccination, the Mexican authorities have distributed 9.2 million doses of vaccines, mainly among the elderly and doctors. A massive campaign began in the second half of February.

    • 01:40

      Brazilian President Wants to Discuss Use of Sputnik V COVID Vaccine With Putin - Reports

      RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin the use of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, which is undergoing approval in the country, CNN Brasil reported, citing sources close to Bolsonaro.

      According to the TV channel, Bolsonaro may contact Putin Tuesday and talk about obtaining permit to use the vaccine in Brazil.

      The medicine is currently in the process of being approved by Brazil's Anvisa national health regulatory agency.

    • 00:05

      World Bank Approves $150Mln for Ecuador Coronavirus Vaccination Program - Statement

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) -  The World Bank said in a release that it has authorized $150 million for Ecuador for coronavirus vaccination of about 30 percent of its population and to track and evaluate vaccine distribution.

      “The World Bank Board of Directors approved US$150 million in additional financing for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project in Ecuador,” the release said on Monday. “With the approved financing, the government expects to immunize approximately 30 percent of the population.”

      The World Bank noted that this is the first financial operation in Latin America and the Caribbean for coronavirus vaccines procurement.

      The funds will also be used for the management of supply chains and logistics for vaccines storage and handling as well as for the purchase of personal protective equipment, the release said.

      Ecuador has so far reached agreements on the deliveries of vaccines against the coronavirus with the companies of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac, as well as the COVAX international distribution initiative.

      The country with a population of more than 17 million people is expected to vaccinate about 2 million of its citizens by May 20,according to the release.

    • 23:17

      Over 80 Cases of British COVID-19 Strain Confirmed in Russia - Public Health Watchdog

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - More than 80 cases of the British coronavirus variant have been registered in Russia, all of them are imported cases, Anna Popova, the head of the Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said.

      "At the moment, 81 samples of the British strain and six South African ones have been isolated in Russia. This suggests that we are still in contact with other countries of the world, all of these cases are imported. Today, the prevalence of these strains is high in Europe, Asia, the South American and, of course, the African continent," Popova told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

      She warned that a growing number of coronavirus cases of the British and South African variants are being registered across the world and urged Russians not to travel abroad.

      "While in a number of European countries 60-70% of all finds are precisely the British strain, in our country, it is still not widespread. Thanks to our restrictive measures inside the country and on the borders. Therefore, today it is better not to travel outside the country if there is no special need," Popova said.

      According to the Rospotrebnadzor head, a total of over 20 coronavirus strains have been isolated in Russia; these strains, in turn, have various mutations that are now being studied.

      On Monday, Russia reported 8,646 new COVID-19 cases, down from 8,817 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,589,540, according to the country's coronavirus response center.

    • 22:54

      Hungary to Ease Coronavirus Lockdown Measures Within Days - Reports

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Hungarian authorities are going to ease coronavirus restrictions this week as the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country has been growing, Daily News Hungary reports.

      After the number of people vaccinated in Hungary reaches 2.5 million, which is expected by midnight on Tuesday or Wednesday morning, a government decree will come into force shortening the nighttime curfew and extending business hours.

      Businesses closed in March will be allowed to re-open, although the number of customers will be limited, Daily News Hungary said citing the government information centre (KTK).

      Meanwhile, schools and kindergartens are expected to re-open in Hungary on April 19, after teachers and other staff have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

      As of Monday, more than 2.3 million people had received at least one vaccine shot in Hungary, but full vaccination had been completed only by slightly over 913,000. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hungary is approaching 690,000 while the country's COVID-19 death toll stands at over 21,900.

    • 21:24

      New ‘Double Mutant’ Coronavirus Variant From India Detected Near San Francisco - Reports

      A health worker prepares to do a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test as people wait at a drive-through COVID-19 testing center in a local street, in Newark, New Jersey, U.S

      New ‘Double Mutant’ Coronavirus Variant From India Detected Near San Francisco, Reports Say

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The new coronavirus variant that emanates from India, dubbed as "double mutant," has been found in the San Francisco Bay Area by Stanford’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, the New Mercury News reported on Monday.
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      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The new coronavirus variant that emanates from India, dubbed as "double mutant," has been found in the San Francisco Bay Area by Stanford’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, the New Mercury News reported on Monday.

      According to the report, at least one confirmed and seven presumed cases of the Indian variant have been found after testing Stanford patients.

      The new Indian variant is said to have two worrisome mutations in a key part of the virus that helps it latch onto cells, the report explained.

      The report cited Dr. Ben Pinsky as saying the detected cases "demonstrate the rapid spread of this variant."

    • 21:07

      Oman to Toughen Coronavirus Rules During Fasting Month

      DOHA (Sputnik) - Oman will restrict travel and ban entry to foreigners during the fasting month of Ramadan as coronavirus cases continue to rise, state media cited the COVID-19 committee as saying on Monday.

      Ramadan begins on April 13 and ends with a festival of fast breaking on May 13. Foreigners will not be allowed to enter the Gulf Arab state from April 8, according to the ONA news agency.

      The committee said that a nightly curfew, which took effect in late March, would be lifted on Thursday and then reimposed for the duration of Ramadan.

      People will be banned from going outdoors from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Stores, markets and shopping malls will close at 9 p.m. during the holy month. Feasting in large groups will be prohibited.

    • 21:06

      Ex-USAID Chief to Lead American Global COVID-19 Response - Blinken

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday that the former administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Gayle Smith, will lead the American global COVID-19 response to ensure equal vaccines distribution across the world’s most impoverished nations.

      "As we get more confident in our vaccine supply... at home, we are exploring options to share more with other countries going forward," Blinken said in his remarks on the COVID-19 response. "We've got to make sure that we can better detect, prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics and other biological threats. This is a pivotal moment, a time for us to think big and act boldly, and the United States will rise to the challenge. I'm here today with a remarkable leader who will help us do just that."

      Blinken pointed out the pandemic will not end in the United States until it is contained worldwide. To this aim, Washington with its partners are preparing to undertake an "unprecedented" global operation to deliver enough vaccines for everyone in the world - a task that will require intensive diplomacy, he said.

      Smith, who helped lead the US response to the Ebola crisis in 2014, said she was ready to take on this responsibility.

      "American leadership is desperately needed. And I'm extremely confident we can rise to the occasion," Smith stated.

      The chief executive of the ONE Campaign that fights preventable diseases added that in her new role she will focus on shortening the lifespan of a "borderless pandemic" and ensuring the United States can detect, prevent, and respond to future global health threats.

    • 19:29

      COVAX Delivered 32Mln Vaccine Doses to 70 Countries - Managing Director

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility for equal vaccine opportunity has delivered first round coronavirus doses to 70 countries, the head of the facility said on Monday.

      "We have 32 million doses that have been delivered to 70 participating economies," COVAX Facility Managing Director Aurelia Nguyen said in a live-streamed discussion hosted by the International Monetary Fund.

      Many poor countries are relying on COVAX, which was set up last year with GAVI, an alliance of vaccine partners, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to get vaccines for the COVID-19.

      The program is targeting to distribute 2.0 billion COVID-19 doses in an equitable way for 2021. Under the plan, poorer countries get doses for free and no country would vaccinate more than 20 percent of its people before another country had a similar opportunity.

      At the same time, COVAX has also struggled to mobilize support needed from wealthy nations to subsidize its program. It has only secured orders for 1.07 billion doses so far, as wealthy provider nations have preferred to sign bilateral supply deals.

      "So far, at COVAX, the approach we've taken is backing a very large number of vaccines and promising candidates," Nguyen said. "We have also secured agreements for more than 2 million doses for 2021, and at least one of those doses ... for the 92 lower-income economies, will be paid by donor funding."

      Nyugen told the Financial Times in January that COVAX had "line of sight" on 1.97 billion vaccination doses and was on track to meet its goal of fair and equitable access to vaccines for developing countries. However, she declined to say how many doses would be delivered this year itself.

    • 19:23

      White House Says Monitoring Vaccine Distribution in Florida

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Biden administration is closely watching the COVID-19 vaccine allocation process in Florida amid reports the state's governor awarded a distribution deal to a political donor, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday.

      US media reported over the weekend that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis granted a vaccine distribution deal to the Publix supermarket chain just weeks after the company donated $100,000 to his political action committee.

      "We are not going to hurt the people of Florida just because of the steps or actions of leadership. We will continue to take actions to ensure that the vaccine is equitably distributed," Psaki said during press briefing.

      Psaki expressed concerns that only 7 percent of vaccine doses in Florida went to Blacks while this group represents 17 percent of the entire state’s population.

      Both the governor and Publix refuted those allegations as irresponsible.

    • 19:21

      Pfizer to Deliver 2Mln Fewer Vaccine Doses to France in May Than Planned - Reports

      PARIS (Sputnik) - France will receive fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in May, as the US pharmaceutical corporation will reduce the planned 10.6 million-dose supply by two million, Les Echos newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources.

      According to the newspaper, the shipment will be delayed for a month.

      The US company, in turn, denies any delays, arguing that the agreement envisages quarterly, not monthly deliveries.

      The mass immunization campaign in France is largely based on the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Apart from that, the country has approved the vaccines developed by Moderna and AstraZeneca.

    • 18:06

      North Macedonia to Introduce Nationwide Curfew From 6-20 April to Curb Spread of COVID-19

      North Macedonia will introduce a new set of coronavirus-related restrictions, including a nationwide curfew, from April 6-20 in a bid to curb the spread of the infection, the national government announced on Monday.

      The last time the government imposed a nationwide nighttime curfew was from March 10-22 as the number of COVID-19 transmissions roughly doubled.

      "The movement of citizens is prohibited across the entire territory of the Republic of North Macedonia from 10.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. [from 20:00 to 03:00 GMT] starting April 6 until April 20, 2021," the government wrote on Twitter.

      The government has also banned public gatherings of over four people and holding conferences, and ordered the closure of fitness and sports clubs. From April 7-20, bookmakers and casinos will have to suspend operations. Cafes and restaurants will be able to provide takeaway services. Citizens are allowed to walk pets from 10:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m within 100 meters (328 feet) from home.

      North Macedonia has confirmed over 134,000 coronavirus cases and over 3,900 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

    • 17:19

      UK Prime Minister Says COVID-19 Vaccine Passports Still Being Assessed

      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that no decision has been made yet regarding the introduction of the so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports, arguing that the government is still assessing some "complicated ethical and practical issues."

      "There are complicated ethical and practical issues raised by the idea of vaccination status certification. Using vaccination alone, many people for one reason for another may be unable to get the vaccination for medical reasons, perhaps because they’re pregnant, so you’ve got to be very careful in how you handle this," Johnson said during a televised press conference.

      The prime minister previously ruled out the introduction of vaccine passports, ruling them as discriminatory, an opinion shared by a large number of lawmakers, including Conservatives, although an Ipsos Moris poll released last week showed that the majority of the UK population supports introducing the certificates for certain activities like travelling abroad, and professions despite recognizing ethical and legal concerns.

      Asked if he will put the issue to a vote in Parliament, Johnson said it is too soon to consider to talk about it, but said he will have no doubt in tabling such proposal if a decision is eventually made.

      The prime minister gave assurance, however, that vaccine passports would not be used either in step 2 of the roadmap out of the lockdown, which will begin on April 12 with the reopening of outdoor pubs and restaurants, non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers, or phase 3, which will start on May 17.

      On international travel, Johnson said he is "hopeful" people can start to travel abroad from mid-May, but warned against the possibility of people re-importing the virus.

    • 16:32

      US Enters 4th Week of Increased Number of COVID-19 Cases, Number of Deaths Decreases, CDC Says

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an increase in number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the number of hospitalizations for the fourth week, while the number of deaths has decreased, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing on Monday.

      "CDC’s most recent data show the seven-day average of new cases is about 64,000 cases per day. This is up approximately 7 percent compared to the prior seven-day period," Walensky said. "Importantly, we are now entering our fourth week of increased trends in cases."

      Walensky said the seven-day average number of hospitalizations has increased by 3 percent and reached about 4,970 admissions per day while the average of deaths has decreases to an average of about 800 per day.

      More than 165 million Americans have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the available vaccines and more than 57 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    • 16:24

      Step 2 of COVID-19 Lockdown Easing to Go Ahead in England, Johnson Says

      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

      UK Prime Minister Confirms Step 2 of COVID-19 Lockdown Easing to Go Ahead in England

      LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that step 2 of the roadmap out of the COVID-19 lockdown in England will go ahead as planned from 12 April, adding that he will be among the people that "will be raising a pint of beer to my lips."
      Read more
    • 15:58

      Putin Calls Argentine Leader Who Contracted COVID-19 to Ask About Health

      Putin Wishes Speedy Recovery to Argentine President Who Contracted COVID-19

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday called his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernandez, who is recovering from COVID-19, to wish him a speedy recovery, the Kremlin said.
      Read more
    • 15:09

      US is Averaging 3.1 Mln Shots of COVID Vaccine Per Day, White House Says

    • 15:04

      Third COVID Wave in UK 'Highly Likely', Though Uncertainty Remains About Timing and Scale of It, Science Advisers Say

    • 14:59

      German State Premier Proposes Intermediary Lockdown Pending Vaccination Effect

       Armin Laschet, a German regional governor and leader of the ruling conservatives, proposed a tougher lockdown on Monday as a way of bridging over to a vaccination coverage that would curb the pandemic.

      He told a press conference that immunization was the surest way out of the health crisis but added more measures were needed before the nation saw "a comparable effect" of blanket vaccination.

      "I think we need an intermediary lockdown. We must create a bridge to when many people will be vaccinated," Laschet told reporters inside a vaccination centre.

      The restrictions may include nightly curfews, moving more people to home offices to avoid commuting, closing eateries, reducing schooling to a bare minimum and limiting leisure activities.

      The premier of North Rhine-Westphalia said that many Germans were tired of restrictions but were also ready to take "one more step so that we go into another phase from May or June."

      This summer is going to be a turning point in the fight against the virus, Laschet said. He estimated that more than half of all Germans would likely be inoculated by June.

      The premier said the chancellor and 16 regional governors should push the coronavirus conference forward from April 12 to agree stricter measures before the end of the Easter period.

      Laschet concluded by saying that the "life-saving goal is in sight." The official argued that a speedy vaccination campaign has brought the country to "very close to the finish line" and "it is the last stretch and we only need to make one more step."

    • 14:50

      Venezuelan Parliament Suspends Regular Sessions for 5 Days Over COVID-19

      Venezuela's National Assembly on Monday halted regular parliamentary sessions for five days amid the fast-spreading COVID-19 infections.

      "The Governing Council informs the people of Venezuela that the regular sessions of the National Assembly will be suspended from Monday, April 5, 2021, to Friday, April 9, 2021," the legislature said in a communique.

      It added that the decision was made in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

      The parliament will, however, be allowed to convene for adopting draft laws.

      On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a one-week extension to the nationwide lockdown.

      The Latin American country has reported record-high 1,779 COVID-19 cases over the past day, bringing the total to over 166,000.

    • 14:38

      Iran Braces for 4th Wave of Coronavirus Pandemic, Health Ministry Says

      Iran Faces 4th Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic, Health Ministry Says

      TEHRAN (Sputnik) - A fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has started across Iran as the country experiences a fresh spike in the infection cases, Sima Sadat Lari, the spokeswoman for the country's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, told Sputnik.
      Read more
    • 14:26

      'There is Evidence of Human-to-Animal Transmission as it is a Zoonotic Virus', Vujnovic Says

      In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus

      WHO Confirms Possibility of COVID Transmission from Humans to Cats, Dogs, Tigers

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 from humans to cats, dogs, minks, raccoon dogs, lions and tigers, and studies the effects of the virus on other animal species, WHO Representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said on Monday.
      Read more
    • 14:08

      Spain Receives Over 1Mln Pfizer Vaccine Doses, Its Largest Supply Yet

      Spain received on Monday 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the biggest such shipment the country has received since the start of the vaccination campaign, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Monday.

      Last week, the European country received over one million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

      "For the first time, 1.2 million doses of [the coronavirus vaccine by] Pfizer arrived in our country in just one batch," Darias said in a press conference.

      According to the minister, a similar number of vaccine doses will be delivered to Spain every Monday, making it possible to inoculate 70 percent of the nearly 47-million population by summer.

      All the vaccines will be administered to those over 60 years, the official said, recalling that nearly all medical staff, residents and workers of caring homes have already been inoculated.

      So far, the country has carried out 8.5 million inoculations, with as many as 2.8 million people having received both shots.

    • 13:31

      Oman to Ban Entry of Visitors From 8 April, State Media Says

    • 12:39

      Indian Company Seeks Approval for Use of Hepatitis C Drug in COVID-19 Treatment

      Indian pharma company Zydus Cadila said on Monday that it is seeking approval from the national regulator to use a Hepatitis C drug in treating COVID-19 patients, noting that interim results show its effectiveness in fighting the coronavirus when taken early.

      "Zydus Cadila announced that its Phase III clinical trials with Pegylated Interferon Alpha 2b, PegiHepTM has shown promising results in treating COVID-19. In what could be a breakthrough in the disease management of COVID-19, the interim results indicate that PegIFN when administered early on, could help patients recover faster and avoiding much of the complications seen in the advanced stages of the disease," the press release read.

      COVID-19 patients with moderate disease who were administered Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b also required shorter oxygen support.

      "With these positive results, the Company has applied for an approval for additional indication with the DCGI [Drugs Controller General of India] for the use of PegIFN in the treatment of COVID-19," it added.

      With 12.5 million confirmed infections, India has the world’s third-largest COVID-19 tally after the United States and Brazil. The 114-million-strong state of Maharashtra alone reported over 57,000 new cases on Sunday.

    • 11:41

      Iran's New COVID-19 Cases Hit Four-Month High, Health Ministry Says

    • 11:24

      Around 60% of Spaniards Against Foreign Tourists Amid COVID-19 Restrictions, Poll Shows

      As many as 59.7 percent of people in Spain are opposed to allowing foreign tourists to enter the country as long as movement restrictions are in place, a poll by Sigma Dos for Mundo newspaper showed.

      Traveling to Spain for tourism at the moment is not allowed. Movement restrictions currently apply between the country's provinces, autonomous communities and on national borders. Some provinces remain subject to a partial lockdown and nighttime curfews. Such restrictions in parts of Spain will stay in place up until mid-April after which the government will make further review.

      According to the survey, 30.8 percent of the respondents are more flexible and would support the entry of foreign tourists if the country applied stricter control measures.

      The survey also revealed that 63.5 percent of respondents, the majority of which are between the ages of 30 and 64, do not believe that the vaccination plan developed by the government will allow the country to return to normal life in the summer.

      Younger respondents aged from 18 to 29, have shown an opposing opinion and make up 29.4 percent.

      The survey was conducted on March 29 and 30 via telephone and online and involved 1,000 adult Spanish citizens. The margin of error is 3.16 percent.

      Spanish authorities intend to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by the end of summer with country approved Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines.

      According to the Ministry of Health, 2.8 million people have already been vaccinated with two doses of the vaccines as of April 3.

      So far, over 3.3 million cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the country and over 75.6 thousand people have died.

    • 11:03

      South Korea's Moon Warns of Stricter Measures Amid Spike in Daily COVID-19 Cases

      South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday said that more stringent measures are in the pipeline against violations of social distancing rules and other epidemiological restrictions due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

      "The government has no other choice but to apply a zero-tolerance principle over such behaviors, while taking coronavirus control and prevention measures more thoroughly," Moon said at the government meeting, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

      The president added that South Korea's goal was to vaccinate at least 12 million people by June and achieve herd immunity by November of this year.

      According to the media outlet, the daily number of COVID-19 infections in the country hovers around 500.

      South Korea rolled out its mass vaccination campaign in late February. Medical staff, as well as employees and residents of nursing homes, were among the first to receive COVID-19 shots, while the immunization of senior citizens started in late March.

      The East Asian nation has so far recorded over 106,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 1,750 related deaths.

    • 08:24

      Suga Denies 4th Wave of Pandemic in Japan Amid Rising Safety Concerns

      The current rate of COVID-19 infections in Japan is yet to reach the levels of a major nationwide surge that can be called a fourth wave, though caution is still required as the number of new cases has increased in several prefectures, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a parliament meeting on Monday.

      The response came amid heavy criticism by the opposition regarding what they believe to be a premature decision to end the coronavirus state of emergency for Osaka and Hyogo prefectures in late February, the NHK World Japan broadcaster reported.

      According to Prime Minister, the two western prefectures met the criteria for lifting the state of emergency, though he also noted that the rates of infections have since been surging as more people went outside.

      The resulting increase in human traffic has hindered the government's anti-coronavirus efforts, the head of the government's advisory panel on the coronavirus response Omi Shigeru was cited as saying by the broadcaster. Additionally, more mutations of the virus have been reported.

      The official warned that the effects of premature lifting of the state of emergency could resurface in the upcoming weeks and urged urgent measures to prevent the crisis, the news stated.

      The government has already made a decision earlier last week to implement stricter COVID-19 restrictions in two regions in the west of Japan — Osaka and Hyogo — as well as a region in the north, Miyagi, from Monday without needing a state of emergency declaration as COVID-19 cases have surged.

    • 08:10

      UK Gov't Offers Free Twice-Weekly COVID Testing in England to 'Stop Outbreaks in Their Tracks'

      Travellers pass a sign for a COVID-19 test centre at Heathrow Airport, London, Britain, February 13, 2021.

      UK Gov't Offers Free Twice-Weekly COVID Testing in England to 'Stop Outbreaks in Their Tracks'

      Until now, rapid testing in the UK has been available to those deemed most at risk, including frontline NHS workers, care home staff and residents, and schoolchildren and their families.
      Read more
    • 08:04

      Russia Registers 8,646 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,646 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 8,817 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,589,540, the coronavirus response centre said on Monday.

      "Over the past day, 8,646 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 1,125 cases (13 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said,

      The rate of increase stood at 0.19 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 1,876 new coronavirus cases over the given period, down from 1,901 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 707 new cases, down from 711 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 593 new cases, down from 598 on Sunday.

      No new cases were registered in the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Nenets Autonomous Region.

      The response centre reported 343 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 357 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 100,717.

      Total recoveries increased by 7,052 over the given period, down from 8,212 the day before, and reached 4,211,133.

    • 07:48

      Australian Minister Blames Slow Vaccine Rollout on EU's Toughened Export Control

      Australian Minister Blames Slow Vaccine Rollout on EU's Toughened Export Control

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australian Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud blamed his country's fall-back on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout scheme on the European Union's toughened rules for vaccine exports.
      Read more
    • 04:59

      Bollywood Star Akshay Kumar After Testing Positive for COVID-19: ‘As a Precautionary Measure, I Have Been Hospitalised’

    • 04:21

      India Detects 103,558 New COVID-19 Cases

    Live Updates: Third COVID Wave in UK 'Highly Likely', UK Science Advisers Say
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