11:27 GMT18 April 2021
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    The global coronavirus tally is now around 133 million cases, with the number of fatalities reaching 2.88 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University.

    The US remains the most affected country, with around 30.9 million cases of coronavirus, while at least 553,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. The US is followed by Brazil with around 13 million cases and over 340,000 deaths.

    At the same time, India currently has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases (12.8 million infections and almost 166,000 deaths), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world - over 205,000 fatalities, with around 2.2 million coronavirus cases.

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    • 00:25

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Brazil Rises by Record 4,249 People Over Past Day – Ministry

      RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) – Brazil has registered 4,249 new fatalities caused by the coronavirus within the past 24 hours, marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The death toll from the disease in Brazil has thus reached 345,025 people, according to the ministry.

      The number of confirmed cases has risen by 86,652 to 13,279,857 within the same period of time.

      Brazil comes second in terms of both the number of COVID-19 cases and the death toll, following the United States with about 31 million cases and more than 560,000 fatalities.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 133.71 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.89 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 00:18

      COVID-19 Kills Native Americans at Nearly 4 Times Rate of Whites - Report

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Native Americans in the US state of Montana died from COVID-19 at rates nearly four times the rate of whites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report.

      “During March 13 - November 30, 2020, COVID-19 incidence and mortality among AI/AN [Native American] persons in Montana were approximately twice and nearly four times those among White persons, respectively. In addition, the case-fatality rate among AI/AN persons was close to twice that among White persons,” the report said on Thursday.

      Mortality was calculated by examining death certificates that cited COVID-19 as either an underlying or contributing cause of death while the case fatality rate was limited to laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases, the report said.

      The estimated cumulative COVID-19 incidence among AI/AN [Native American] persons (9,064 cases per 100,000) was 2.2 times that among White persons (4,033 cases per 100,000). During the same period, the cumulative COVID-19 mortality rate among AI/AN persons (267 deaths per 100,000) was 3.8 times that among White persons (71 deaths per 100,000), the report added.

      The findings reinforce importance of using state-level surveillance to develop state and tribal COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategies and devise culturally appropriate public health measures that might help reduce COVID-19 incidence and mortality in Native American communities, according to the report.

    • 00:17

      Argentina Registers Record 23,683 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours - Health Ministry

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Argentina has registered 23,683 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak for the third day in a row, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The death toll has risen by 290 to 57,122 people within the same period of time, according to the ministry.

      The total number of those who tested positive for COVID-16 in Argentina has reached 2,473,751, while the number of recoveries stands at 2,188,983.

      Doctors of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said on late Thursday that the leader, who had tested positive for COVID-19 despite vaccinated with Russia's Sputnik V, was feeling good.

      “The disease of the Argentine president is developing favorably, without respiratory symptoms, and his health condition is normal,” the doctors said in a statement.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 133.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 2.89 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 21:24

      US Physician Indicted Over $300k COVID-19 Relief Program Fraud - Justice Dept.

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Colorado physician Francis Joseph has been charged with a fraud to obtain nearly $300,000 from three COVID-19 relief programs and faces up to 45 years in prison, the US Justice Department said in a release on Thursday.

      “An indictment was unsealed Wednesday in Denver charging a Colorado man with stealing nearly $300,000 in government funds from three different COVID relief programs and with making false statements in connection with bankruptcy proceedings,” the release said. “Joseph is charged with theft in connection with health care, theft of government property, wire fraud, and making a false statement in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding.”

      Joseph has received and directed to his personal bank account approximately $118,000 from the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and the Provider Relief Fund as well as $179,999 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the release explained.

      In addition, Joseph filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the clinic following his termination and submitted false statements about his misappropriation of funds from the clinic in connection with that proceeding, the release added.

      Joseph faces up to ten years in prison for each theft count, 20 years for wire fraud and five years for the bankruptcy proceeding false statement, according to the release.

    • 19:42

      Moderna Plans to Deliver 80Mln Vaccine Doses to Germany Until End of Year - European Office

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - The United States' pharmaceutical company Moderna intends to deliver 80 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Germany until the end of 2021, Dan Steiner, the head of Moderna's European office, said in an interview with Germany's Wirtschaftswoche business news magazine.

      Late last year, Berlin announced that it secured some 50 million doses of the vaccine under the contract with Moderna.

      "We want to deliver 80 million doses of the vaccine to Germany this year," Steiner said, recalling that 1.8 million doses have already been supplied, another six million set to be delivered in the second quarter.

      The European office's head also refuted the recent media reports alleging that Germany may not receive a batch of almost 900,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine expected in April.

      "To date, we have complied with all the supply commitments that we made. Deliveries are delayed for a maximum of one to two days," Steiner added.

      Additionally, Moderna eyes establishing vaccine production in Germany, among other countries, and is currently negotiating the issue with Berlin, Steiner said.

    • 19:17

      Netherlands Decide Not to Resume Use of AstraZeneca Vaccine for People Under 60

      PARIS (Sputnik) - The Netherlands decided not to resume use of the vaccine produced by UK-Swedish company AstraZeneca for people under 60, they will receive another vaccine, Acting Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.

      The decision was announced following a recommendation from the Dutch Health Council, which called for canceling the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60 by offering them other vaccines. However, the council recommended continuing the use of AstraZeneca for those over 60.

      "The relationship between the degree of risk and degree of benefit is very different, so the recommendation is unambiguous," the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper quoted the minister as saying.

      De Jonge added that another vaccine would be offered to citizens under the age of 60.

      "We will have a lot of vaccines in the near future," he explained De Jonge, referring, among other things, to expected deliveries of Janssen vaccine.

      The Dutch authorities last week stopped using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people under 60 due to increased incidence of thrombosis.

    • 17:06

      Lithuania Reports 8 Deaths Among Elderly After COVID-19 Vaccinations

      Lithuania has recorded the deaths of eight seniors with chronic diseases after administration of COVID-19 vaccines, a spokesperson for the Lithuanian State Medicines Control Agency said on Thursday.

      Lithuania's immunisation campaign, launched in late December 2020, includes the three vaccines that have the EU regulator's approval, namely the vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford.

      "These were reports of deaths among the elderly. The youngest patient was 69 years old and the oldest was 91. Five women and three men. All registered deaths were linked to the age and chronic diseases of those patients", Rugile Pilviniene told reporters.

      The health official listed a few cases of fainting as a result of fever and malaise among the post-vaccination adverse reactions, as well as one case of facial paralysis after the AstraZeneca vaccine.

      "We have noticed some unexpected reactions", Pilviniene continued, listing numbness of face, tongue or whole body, high blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat.

      With a total of nearly 495,000 administered doses, as of March 31, the Lithuanian watchdog registered 1,742 cases of adverse reactions, including 498 mild and moderate cases and 43 severe cases, according to the official.

      Lithuania has so far recorded about 222,000 COVID-19 cases and 3,635 deaths.

    • 17:06

      Most Germans Open to Getting Sputnik V Shot, Poll Shows

      Fifty-five percent of Germans sampled by the YouGov pollster on Thursday said they would not mind being vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V if it was approved by the EU drug regulator.

      The survey was conducted for the Handelsblatt newspaper among 597 adults.

      Nineteen percent said they do not want to be injected with the Russian vaccine, while 12 percent said they did not plan to be vaccinated against the coronavirus at all. Fourteen percent were uncertain.

      A Forsa poll conducted for the RTL broadcaster in March put the number of Germans who were open to getting a Sputnik V shot at 57 percent. This is 12 points higher than in February.

      German Health Minister Jens Spahn told the public broadcaster WRD earlier in the day that Berlin planned to begin talks with Moscow about a national contract to buy Sputnik V doses if the EU approves it for use but does not buy the vaccine for the entire bloc.

    • 16:46

      Mexican President Says Will Receive AstraZeneca Shot to Boost Trust Amid Safety Concerns

      Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced on Thursday that he was prepared to receive the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca under the national immunization plan and would get the shot in the coming weeks in a bid to boost the citizens' confidence amid concerns that the vaccine may cause blood clots.

      The announcement came in the wake of the European Medicines Agency's long-awaited assessment of the vaccine's safety that prompted a number of countries across the world to recommend its use only among senior citizens. According to the EU regulator, the AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective and blood clotting events following the inoculation should be considered as very rare side effects.

      "Yes, I am supposed to [receive] the AstraZeneca [vaccine]. Since there is such a campaign when it has been proven to be safe and do more good than harm, and because it is being used here, in the Cuauhtemoc area, I will get the AstraZeneca vaccine ... because it will help give people confidence", the president said at a press conference.

      In late March, the Mexican leader said that he would receive a coronavirus vaccine in April despite having a sufficient level of antibodies after recovering from the coronavirus in January.

    • 15:42

      COVAX Organisation Sends 38Mln Vaccine Doses to 100 Nations in 42 Days, UNICEF Says

      The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) has so far successfully distributed 38 million doses of three brands of coronavirus vaccines to more than 100 countries in 42 days, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which oversees the programme, said in a press release on Thursday.

      "COVAX reaches over 100 economies, 42 s days after first international delivery", the release said. "The COVAX Facility has now delivered life-saving vaccines to over 100 economies since making its first international delivery to Ghana on February 24."

      COVAX is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to coronavirus vaccines led by UNICEF, the release explained.

      "So far, more than 38 million doses of vaccines from manufacturers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Serum Institute of India (SII) have now been delivered, including 61 economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment", the release said.

      Despite the reduced supply availability in March and April in part due to increased demand for coronavirus vaccines in India, COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year, the organisation added.

    • 15:25

      Central African Republic Violence Complicates COVID-19 Response, MINUSCA Says

      Efforts of the Central African government to mount an anti-coronavirus response have been hindered by the latest waves of violence by rebels who ignored calls to allow free movement of humanitarian workers, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSCA told Sputnik.

      "MINUSCA spent $7,563,019 on COVID-19 related support projects and equipment to assist and support the authorities to implement protection measures though this is very difficult in a country where people survive on their day-to-day life and wages and any disruption makes it difficult for the population to cope", Mankeur Ndiaye said.

      The UN official said he had called on the armed groups, which control most of the nation’s territory, to halt operations after the UN secretary general appealed for a global ceasefire in March last year. The militants defied the calls by launching several attacks through winter.

      The country is expecting a delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks through the COVAX shot-sharing mechanism. Ndiaye said that MINUSCA would coordinate with the CAR government and UN charities on a "coherent and concerted" vaccination campaign, which might be muddled by the rebels.

      "The health workers who do the vaccinations will require access in order to vaccinate the population", he said.

      Ndiaye praised cooperation with the CAR government on the COVID-19 response at the strategic, technical, and operational levels, as well as donations of essential supplies by UN charities, who helped transport samples to the country’s only labs in the capital and rehabilitate severely ill people.

    • 14:44

      France Refuses Russia's Sputnik V For Ideological Rather Than Safety Concerns, Politician Says

      Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the left-wing France Untamed political party and a former presidential candidate, claimed on Thursday that Paris had been aware of the high efficacy of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V since November, but refrained from procuring it over ideological considerations.

      "There are not enough vaccines, but why? Because we are trapped in the stupid decisions of the European bureaucracy, which treats the vaccine as a commodity. And we refused, for ideological reasons, to supply France with Russian, Cuban or Chinese vaccines, which are now available and working", Melenchon said on the French BFMTV broadcaster.

      He explained that the French government was informed about the high efficacy levels of the Russian vaccine by a special mission of experts from the French scientific committee on COVID-19 vaccines. According to the politician, the delegation made such conclusions after it had visited Moscow in November 2020 for discussions on vaccine cooperation.

      Melenchon also noted that Berlin tend to make all decisions on behalf of the European Union at the moment, and in this regard Paris had no say about the purchase of Sputnik V whatsoever.

      Earlier in the day, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that Berlin would negotiate with Moscow on the perspectives of Sputnik V supplies Germany could secure if the vaccine is approved for use in the EU. The minister's announcement came as Bavaria state, located in the south-east of the country, pre-ordered 2.5 million vaccine shots if Sputnik V is authorized.

      The Russian vaccine has been allowed for emergency use in 59 countries across the globe with a total population of more than 1.5 billion people. According to an interim analysis from the trial published in The Lancet, the vaccine has 91.6 percent efficacy.

    • 13:59

      Scammers Begin Selling Fake COVID-19 'Passports' in Denmark, Reports Say

      The Danish public health portal sundhed.dk, where citizens can apply for the newly introduced COVID-19 passes, has filed a report to the police concerning scam websites offering fake certificates, TV2 broadcaster stated on Thursday citing the portal's director, Morten Elbek Petersen.

      On Tuesday, Denmark became the first country in Europe to launch a COVID-19 "passport" scheme that would allow non-essential businesses to reopen to customers. The so-called "coronapas" can be obtained either in paper format or through the portal and its secure application MinSundhed. However, websites offering to issue fake COVID-19 passports or test certificates have started to emerge recently.

      "We can always tell if a COVID-19 passport or test certificate is fake. When we notice that someone is manipulating the data, we immediately contact the police. We have just informed the police about a website that instructs on how to forge COVID-19 passports", Petersen was cited as saying by the Norwegian broadcaster.

      According to Petersen, there are certain design differences between original and fake passports, even though signatures and seals from legal certificates could be replicated on a number of fake documents, the news outlet said.

      Punishment for this type of fraud has been toughened due to pandemic concerns.

      Coronapas is available to those who have been fully vaccinated, has recently recovered from COVID-19, or tested negative over the previous 72 hours. It is required to enter a number of public places, such as hairdressers and beauty salons, from April 21 — open terraces, and from May 6 — restaurants, museums, theaters and cinemas.

    • 13:41

      Twitter Explodes After Elon Musk Says He Supports 'COVID-19 Vaccines'

      SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

      Twitter Explodes After Elon Musk Says He Supports 'COVID-19 Vaccines'

      The tech maverick has more than once been the subject of criticism during the pandemic. Last March, he predicted that the United States would have zero cases by the end of April and claimed US authorities overcounted COVID-19 deaths.
      Read more
    • 13:26

      Australians Under 50 Recommended to Get Vaccinated With Pfizer, Not AstraZeneca

      "The ATAGI [The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] recommendations are the following: At the current time, the use of the Pfizer vaccine is preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged less than 50 years who have not already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine", Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly was quoted as saying by the media outlet 7 News.

    • 12:33

      US Jobless Claims Rise to 744,000 Amid Coronavirus Crisis

      "In the week ending April 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 744,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week's revised level", the Labour Department said in a news release.

    • 12:11

      Sweden Confirms 7,822 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:47

      Thailand to Close Entertainment Venues in 41 Provinces Over Surge in COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:27

      European Commission Will Not Reject Common Vaccine Strategy Despite Berlin's Plans

      "There may be different approaches, we have a European vaccine strategy which is based on negotiations with a number of businesses companies which have been identified. The fact that member states may decide to purchase vaccines from other manufacturers ... and that has already been a case with for example Hungary, that does not mean the end of the European strategy. These are two different things. And therefore reply to your last question is clear — no", commission spokesman Eric Mamer said at a briefing.

    • 11:21

      Vaccine Shortage Ignites Political Blame Game in India as COVID Cases Shoot Up

      FILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi//File Photo/File Photo

      Vaccine Shortage Ignites Political Blame Game in India as COVID Cases Shoot Up

      On Thursday, India recorded its highest one-day spike of COVID-19 to date, with 126,789 new cases over 24 hours. The total number of COVID-19 infections has reached 12.92 million and the death toll has reached 166,862, including 685 new fatalities.
      Read more
    • 10:21

      Russia Registers Test System That Can Detect Coronavirus Strains Circulating in Country

      "FMBA Russia … received a registration certificate №2021/13956 for the qualitative determination of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus RNA in biological material (swabs from the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx and oropharynx) ‘AmpliTest SARS-CoV-2 LAMP", the Russian Federal Medical‑Biological Agency (FMBA) said in a statement.

    • 09:49

      Moscow Hopes Europe Will Soon Authorise Russian Vaccines Against COVID-19

      "We hope very much that Russian vaccines will be certified in the near future, and it will be possible to start systemic cooperation in the interests of all the European peoples, in the interests of building a space that would be safe for all its inhabitants", Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said at a plenary session of the Northern Dimension forum.

    • 09:19

      UK Has More Than Enough COVID-19 Vaccines for People Under 30, Health Secretary Says

      "There are 10.16 million people aged 18-29 in the UK, 1.6 million of them have already had their first jab … and we have more than enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccine to cover all of the remaining 8.5 million people aged between 18-29 if necessary", Matt Hancock told the Sky News broadcaster.

    • 09:03

      Danish Invention Optimises Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Dosage to Remedy Shortage

      Vials labelled COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine and a syringe are seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken February 9, 2021

      Danish Invention Optimises Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Dosage to Remedy Shortage

      The easy-to-learn method allows seven doses to be extracted out of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine vial by controlling the air intake in the vial and is a further improvement from utisiling a special type of syringe to extract six.
      Read more
    • 08:12

      Russian Research Centre Vector is Working on Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine

      Packaging of injectable preparations for the syringe-dose of the EpiVacCorona vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19, produced at the Vector-BiAlgam enterprise in Novosibirsk.

      Russia's Vector is Working on Intranasal COVID-19 Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector has started developing a new coronavirus vaccine in the form of nasal drops, which will help produce immunity right at the "entrance gate" of the infection, Vector General Director Rinat Maksyutov said in an interview with Sputnik.
      Read more
    • 08:11

      Russia Registers 8,672 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 07:45

      Russian Foreign Minister Stresses Vaccination Passports Must Not Limit Right to Travel

    • 06:49

      German Vaccination Commission Approves Bavaria's Preliminary Order for Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine

      A medical worker holds an ampoule of Russian Gam-COVID-VAK (trademark Sputnik V) coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela.

      German Vaccination Committee Sees Bavaria's Pre-Order for Russia's Sputnik V as 'Positive'

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - German Standing Committee on Vaccination Chairman Thomas Mertens on Thursday approved Bavaria's preliminary order for Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, noting that the information available about the vaccine inspires optimism.
      Read more
    • 06:19

      Germany Confirms Over 20,400 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 06:13

      Philippines Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Use for People Under 60

    • 06:02

      Preliminary Results of EpiVacCorona Vaccine Trials to Be Released by End of April, Developer Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The preliminary results of the post-registration trials of Russia's EpiVacCorona vaccine against the coronavirus will be released at the end of the month, all of the volunteers have already been inoculated, and only 25 percent of them have received placebos, Rinat Maksyutov, the director of the Vector research centre that developed the vaccine, said in an interview with Sputnik.

      "At the end of April, the preliminary results will be summed up for all eight centres that held the post-registration trials. It is too early to say anything about specific figures until that time", Maksyutov said.

      According to Maksyutov, 3,000 volunteers are taking part in the trials, 75 percent of them have been inoculated with the vaccine, while 25 percent have received placebos. The condition of the volunteers will be monitored over 180 days, he added.

    • 05:35

      Hundreds of Thousands of AstraZeneca Vaccine Doses Were Discreetly Sent to Australia From UK, Report Suggests

    • 04:37

      India Registers Record 126,789 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past Day

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - India has registered 126,789 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, the national Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

      The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 12,928,574, according to the ministry.

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