05:13 GMT18 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (331)
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    The death toll from the coronavirus infection in the world has topped 2.93 million; over 136 million cases of the 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.

    India registered a record 168,912 COVID-19 cases overnight, overtaking Brazil as the second-most affected country globally by the coronavirus. According to Reuters data, India's overall tally reached 13.53 million, surpassing Brazil's 13.45 million cases.

    Meanwhile, the United States still has the highest death toll and overall coronavirus tally, with 31.2 million infected and 562,000 fatalities.

    France and South Korea are now among a growing list of countries to have put an age limit on recipients of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. France banned people under 55 from getting the vaccine, while South Korea stopped citizens under age 30 from receiving it, as fears of resulting blood clots persist.

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    • 02:52

      Viral Infections Incidence Thresholds Exceeded in Three Russian Regions, Russian Watchdog Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Weekly epidemic thresholds for the incidence of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI) have been exceeded in three Russian regions, Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

      "In the fourteenth week of 2021, in terms of the entire population, weekly epidemic thresholds for ARVI incidence have been exceeded in three constituent entities [of the Russian Federation]," Rosbotrebnadzor said.

      About 85.9 million people (59 percent of the country's population) have already been vaccinated against influenza in Russia, it said.

    • 23:11

      Russian Ambassador to Argentina Inoculated With Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Russian Ambassador to Argentina Dmitry Feoktistov has been inoculated with the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the embassy told reporters.

      "Russian Ambassador to Argentina Dmitry Feoktistov was inoculated with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine," the embassy said.

      It said the diplomat felt good and did not have side effects. The embassy clarified the vaccine had been provided by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and was not part of batches intended for Argentina.

    • 21:04

      Turkey May Start Receiving Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine Within 4-5 Months, Turkish Minister Says

      A nurse prepares a dose of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a sport centre, as the country starts mass inoculation campaign with the Russian vaccine donated by Serbia, in Skopje, North Macedonia April 5, 2021.

      Deliveries of Russia's Sputnik V to Turkey May Start Within 4-5 Months, Turkish Minister Says

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Deliveries of Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V to Turkey may begin within four or five months, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday.
      Read more
    • 19:53

      Turkey Going Through Most Difficult Period Since Start of Pandemic, Health Ministry Says

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca believes that the country is going through the most difficult period since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

      The Turkish Health Ministry reported record number of new coronavirus cases in the country in seven of 10 days through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, near-record daily increases of over 52,000 new COVID-19 cases were recorded as well.

      "Turkey is going through the most difficult time of the pandemic. Negative factors are our fatigue from uncertainty, the general moral decline from the protracted pandemic and the emergence of new mutations that are spreading even faster, 85 percent is the 'UK' strain. But other mutations have also been found in Turkey — 166 people were diagnosed with the 'Brazilian' variant of the virus," Koca told reporters.

    • 19:51

      Vienna Mayor Extends COVID-19 Lockdown Until May 2

      VIENNA (Sputnik) - The Austrian capital region is extending tough coronavirus restrictions until May 2 due to the critical situation in hospitals, Vienna mayor and governor Michael Ludwig said on Monday.

      Vienna went into a six-day strict lockdown from April 1, but has since extended it twice, as the number of intensive care patients has held steady.

      "I want to extend protective measures for Vienna residents until May 2," Ludwig told reporters.

      Schools, the mayor added, will do remote learning until April 25.

      The state of Lower Austria has followed suit and similarly extended the restrictions until May 2.

    • 19:24

      Ankara Hopes to Change Russia's Assessment of Safety of Russians' Recreation in Turkey

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca hopes that the Russian authorities might change their approach to assessing the safety of Russians' recreation in the country after the visit of a delegation that will assess the situation on the spot.

      Earlier in the day, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the coronavirus response center had made a decision to restrict air traffic with Turkey from April 15 to June 1.

      "Yesterday, I spoke twice with the Russian health minister. In the near future, he will send a delegation, and in the resort regions of Antalya, Izmir it will study the situation from the point of view of safe tourism. I think that after that the approach may be different," Koca told reporters, answering about Russia's decision to significantly limit air traffic with Turkey.

    • 19:12

      Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V Authorized in Countries With Total Population of 3 bln People, or 40% of Global Population, RDIF Says

    • 18:31

      Slovak President Says Wants to Make Details of Sputnik V Contract Public

      Slovak President Zuzana Caputova announced on Monday her plans to meet the next day with country's Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky to discuss why the access to the contract for Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has been restricted, to see the document herself and find out if it can be made public.

      "I have already requested access to the contract with the manufacturer of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which is now secret, from the head of the Health Ministry. On Tuesday, I intend to ask the head of the Health Ministry why this agreement is secret and whether it can be made open to the public," Caputova said during a visit to the country's medial research centers aired by network TV channels.

      The president stressed that Sputnik V vaccine should not have been used to divide the Slovak public.

      "No reasonable person can be against Sputnik V or any other vaccine, wherever it is made, if it is safe and effective. The trials that have been carried out so far in Slovakia show good results concerning the use of Sputnik V vaccine. This means that we trust our institutions and do not doubt their work," she said.

      According to Caputova, the Slovak government has been doing everything to ensure that the received doses of Sputnik V could be used in the country.

      Slovakia received the first batch of Sputnik V on March 1. The purchase was initiated by Igor Matovic, the country's prime minister at the time, and former Health Minister Marek Krajci. The decision to purchase the Russian vaccine without the approval of the European regulator received massive backlash, which resulted in Krajci and Matovic resigning from their posts. The new cabinet, headed by Eduard Heger, was approved on April 1, and Matovic took the post of deputy prime minister and head of the Finance Ministry.

      At the beginning of April, the Russian Direct Investment Fund requested Slovakia to return the 200,000 doses of Sputnik V, citing contract violations as the vaccine was being tested in unlicensed research facilities. On Friday, Matovic announced that the two sides reached an agreement, according to which purchased vaccines would be tested in the certified OMCL (Official Medicinal Control Laboratory) in Hungary.

    • 18:28

      UK Strain Accounts For About 85% of COVID-19 Cases in Turkey, Health Minister Says

    • 18:15

      Brazil Grateful to Russia for Allowing Anvisa to Inspect Sputnik V Production, Ambassador Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik), Ekaterina Chukaeva - Brazil is grateful to Russia for allowing officials from the Brazilian national sanitary inspection agency Anvisa to inspect the production facility of coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in Russia this week, Brazilian Ambassador to Russia Tovar da Silva Nunes told Sputnik on the sidelines of Prodexpo 2021, adding that he himself got vaccinated with Sputnik V.

      Last week, Anvisa announced that its officials will visit a production facility of coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in Russia, adding that the aim of the trip is "to collect the missing data" on the production of the vaccine, which is important both for assessing its use and for importing it into Brazil. Anvisa’s employees are due to visit two factories: one responsible for the production (the inspection will take place from April 15 to 21) and another responsible for the final stage and packaging (from April 19 to 23).

      "Actually we're going to greet the [Anvisa] team on Wednesday [April 14]. They will come on Wednesday, there will be two teams. The first team comes on Wednesday, and we are very grateful to the Russian side for allowing them to come at such short notice. There is a lot of exchange that the embassy is helping to build this bridge between Russia and Brazil, the federal government and I think things are evolving very fast," Da Silva Nunes said.

      He added that he had already received both shots of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

      "I'm a living proof that it's a very good vaccine… Zero side effect, very happy… And antibodies went to the sky – skyrocketed in a very high level," he said.

      Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, during which the leaders discussed the registration of Russian vaccine Sputnik V in Brazil, the organization of its deliveries and production of the drug in the country. Brazil has so far greenlighted three coronavirus vaccines — those developed by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac.

      Prodexpo 2021, a major international show of food and drinks in Russia and Eastern Europe, is taking place in Moscow from April 12-16. Producers presented essential food and beverages as well as organic, sport and healthy food, halal, kosher, and exotic products. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of foreign exhibitions was smaller than in previous years. This year, Armenia, Brazil, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka and Turkey were among the countries that represented their expositions.

    • 17:24

      Italian Businessmen Demand End to COVID Lockdown

      Protesters (Rear) face a line of anti-riot Police officers on April 12, 2021 on Piazza San Silvestro in central Rome during a demonstration of restaurant owners and workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses owners, demanding the easing of lockdown restrictions and financial assistance from the government, during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

      Several Hundred Business Owners Rally Against COVID-19 Lockdown in Rome - Photo, Video

      ROME (Sputnik) - Hundreds of demonstrators, some of whom identified as entrepreneurs and activists, gathered on Monday in central Rome, Italy, to protest against stringent lockdown measures, urging the government to ease COVID restrictions to prevent further financial losses and destruction to businesses.
      Read more
    • 16:30

      Number of Coronavirus Cases in US Rises, But Number of Deaths Continues to Decrease, CDC Says

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest data shows there has been an increase in the number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and hospitalized, while the number of virus-related deaths continues to decrease, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing on Monday.

      "CDC’s most recent data show the seven-day average for new cases has increased about 3 percent over the prior seven-day period to over 66,000 cases daily," Walensky said. "Hospital admission also continued to increase. The most recent seven-day average, a little over 53 hundred admissions per day is a 6.6 percent increase from the prior seven-day period."

      Walensky added that the number of virus-related deaths have decreased by 5.2 percent to a seven-day average of 684 per day.

      Walensky also shared CDC’s data on emergency room visits between October-December 2020 showing that compared to white individuals, Hispanic, Indian-American and Alaskan native individuals were 1.7 times more likely and black individuals were 1.4 times more likely to seek care at hospitals’ emergency departments for COVID-19.

      More than 166 million vaccines have been administered in the United States 18 days before the 100 days mark set by the President Joe Biden to administer 200 million vaccines, Walensky said.

    • 16:26

      France Reports More Than 8,500 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 16:21

      Russia Restricts Air Traffic With Turkey From 15 April to 1 June

      The Russian COVID-19 Response Center has made a decision to suspend air traffic with Turkey from April 15 to June 1, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on Monday.

      "We have made a decision to restrict regular and charter flights from Russian international airports to the airports of Turkey and in the opposite direction from April 15 this year to June 1 this year," Golikova said during a briefing, adding that there will be only two flights a week between Moscow and Istanbul.

      The official also said that tour operators were advised to suspend the sale of tour packages to Turkey. In addition, Golikova said that Turkey has the highest COVID-19 infection rate among countries that have air traffic with Russia.

      Meanwhile, Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s Rostpotrebnadzor consumer rights protection watchdog, said during the briefing that most coronavirus-positive Russians that are returning from abroad are arriving from Turkey.

      Russia’s COVID-19 response centre also made a decision to suspend air traffic with Tanzania from April 15 to June 1, Golikova added.

      "Based on the analysis of epidemiological data, we decided to suspend air traffic with Tanzania from April 15 to June 1, 2021," Golikova said.

    • 16:11

      Over 70% of Japanese Want Tokyo Olympics Cancelled Or Postponed Over COVID-19, Poll Shows

      More than 70 percent of people in Japan think that the summer Olympic and Paralympic  Games in Tokyo should either be cancelled or postponed as public concerns mount over the fourth coronavirus wave and slow vaccine rollout, a poll by Japanese news agency Kyodo showed on Monday.

      The survey found that 39.2 percent of the respondents think the Olympics should be cancelled, while 32.8 percent believe they should be pushed back once again. Only 24.5 percent of respondents said that the games should be held this summer as scheduled.

      Nearly half of the respondents, 49.3 percent, think that the Olympic torch relay, which started on March 25 in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and was expected to pass through all of the country's 47 prefectures before the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, should be cancelled in areas with high coronavirus infection rates. Another 35.9 percent believe that the relay should be called off entirely and only 13.2 percent said it should continue.

      The survey has found that the majority of Japanese citizens are seriously concerned about the increase in new infection cases, with 92.6 percent replying they "feel anxious" about it and over 60 percent showing dissatisfaction with the vaccination rates.

      The poll results come amid a countrywide coronavirus surge. On Monday, the governors of Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa followed their colleagues from Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures and toughened their responses to the pandemic. The measures include early closure of restaurants and bars in densely populated areas and limiting attendance at large events to 5,000 people.

      The survey covered 656 randomly selected households with adult voters and 1,185 mobile phone numbers.

    • 15:40

      Governments Should Consider Wealth Tax to Reduce COVID-19 Extreme Inequalities, UN Chief Says

      UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on countries to consider imposing a "wealth tax" on those who have profited during the coronavirus pandemic in order to re-balance the economy.

      Guterres noted there has been a $5 trillion surge in the wealth of the super-rich since the start of the pandemic, while some 120 million people have fallen back into extreme poverty.

      "We must make sure funds go where they are needed most," Guterres said at the 2021 Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development. "I urge governments to consider a solidarity or wealth tax on those who have profited during the pandemic, to reduce extreme inequalities."

      Guterres also called on governments to reverse the fall in concessional loans to low-income and middle-income countries and urged expanding into 2022 debt suspension for nations in need.

      The UN chief further appealed for a new social contract based on investments in education, green jobs, social protection and health systems, which will serve as the foundation for sustainable development.

    • 15:36

      Russian Ambassador to India Comments on Sputnik V Approval in the Country

      "We note the reports that a committee of experts recommended #SputnikV for use in #India. This step would definitely contribute to the efforts of the Indian government to counter the #COVID19 pandemic. We hope the approval by the DCGI will be completed soon," Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said.

    • 14:46

      WHO Delegation Plans to Inspect Production of Sputnik V in May, June

      GENEVA, April 12 (Sputnik) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) plans to send a delegation to inspect the production of Sputnik V, a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, in May and June, according to the WHO’s document.

      "Additional data … Required. Inspections in May and June 2021," the WHO’s document read.

      According to the document, a date of a safety assessment of Sputnik V by WHO experts will be determined "after all data is submitted and inspections completed".

    • 14:09

      WHO Working on Proposals to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

      The World Health Organization (WHO) is working on proposals to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, the organization's chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, said on Monday.

      "The WHO along with the partners in COVAX, that’s CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, but also others like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank, have now been working on a proposal to really expand manufacturing capacity for vaccines … in areas of the world where there is little or no capacity just now, because what we’ve seen in this pandemic is that there is a massive imbalance in the global supply chains," Swaminathan said during a press briefing.

      The WHO, she noted, will come up with more details on the vaccine manufacturing task force in the next few days.

      "The goal, of course, is to increase vaccine supplies so that we can scale up the vaccination programs globally and to do it as quickly as possible, and for that we need some actions which are very immediate and short-term, and that will result in the immediate removal of any obstacles," the chief scientist continued.

      Another challenge is raw materials for vaccines that are getting in short supply. Export restrictions that have been put in place by some countries on some of these items are creating a problem for manufacturers, according to Swaminathan.

    • 12:09

      Germany's Merkel to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Soon

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the near future, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday, commenting on an allegation that her inoculation has been postponed.

      When the vaccination campaign began in Germany in late December, Merkel stated right away that she would get inoculated when her turn comes in the general queue.

      "The chancellor will be inoculated soon, and she will inform the public about this," Seibert said at a press briefing.

      German newspaper Bild reported that Merkel was scheduled to get inoculated in Berlin this past Sunday, but the appointment was later canceled. On Sunday, Merkel attended a council of the ruling CDU/CSU bloc in parliament where they discussed the candidacy of the next chancellor. The election is scheduled to take place on 26 September.

    • 11:51

      Kremlin Casts Doubts on NYT Report on Russia's 'Hidden' COVID-19 Death Toll

      An ambulance near Russian hospital for coronavirus treatment in Kommunarka, Moscow.

      Kremlin Casts Doubts on NYT Report on Russia's 'Hidden' COVID-19 Death Toll

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday declined to comment on The New York Times’ recent piece about Russia's allegedly concealed COVID-19 death toll, saying he was not aware of the criteria based on which the newspaper made such assumptions.
      Read more
    • 10:46

      Indian Government Bans in-Flight Serving of Meals

      The Indian government has banned the in-flight serving of meals on flights which last fewer than 120 minutes.

       

    • 09:56

      India Approves Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine

      Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, the manufacturer of the Sputnik V vaccine in India, saw their share value jump over 7 percent following a report of the vaccine's approval.

      Vial labelled Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine placed on displayed Sputnik V logo is seen in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2021.

      Indian Government Approved Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Against COVID-19, Health Ministry Says

      NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - The Indian government's expert panel has approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, it will be rolled out in India by the Dr. Reddy's pharmaceutical company, the Indian Ministry of Health told Sputnik on Monday.
      Read more
    • 09:43

      Indian Vaccines CoviShield, Covaxin Go to Instagram With 'Rasputin Challenge'

      With the message "Crush the Curve", Kerala’s medical community has launched a trending Instagram challenge.

      The 18-second video shows two vials of Covaxin and Covishield — animated and shaking their crystal glass limbs together to the pop song Rasputin.

      The clip, which was also shared by Kerala Police, has now gone viral. It was created by the Kerala Social Security Mission (KSSM) to spread mass awareness about vaccination.

    • 09:21

      South Korea Says Found No Link Between Covid-19 Vaccination, Deaths, Reports Say

      South Korea's Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) found no link between COVID-19 vaccines and the deaths of several people who got vaccinated, the Yonhap news agency reported on Monday.

      According to the South Korean news agency, the KDCA investigated 11 out of the 47 deaths of people who received either AstraZeneca or Pfizer Inc. vaccines and found that all 11 were over 70 years old and had pre-existing health conditions.

      The Korean authorities have stressed that the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines have been carefully studied in clinical trials and pledged to conduct an epidemiological survey of the remaining reported deaths.

      The KDCA added that out of four cases of serious health issues only one was linked to the vaccines; a man in his 20's was diagnosed with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) after receiving an AstraZeneca shot, but has since recovered.

      According to the European drug agency, no links were found between rare cases of CVST and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

      South Korea has recently changed guidelines on AstraZenca, limiting its use to people over the age of 30.

      The Korean government has said it will cover hospital bills for treatment in case people see serious side effects after receiving their COVID-19 vaccines.

    • 08:19

      UK, Czech Republic, Greece Ease Some COVID-19 Restrictions, Resume Non-Essential Services

      A number of European nations including the United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Greece are taking tentative steps to ease lockdown measures on Monday with national authorities allowing a number of non-essential facilities to reopen.

      Starting Monday, non-essential shops, including hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms, as well as and libraries will reopen in England, while pubs and restaurants resume outdoor services, provided the clients will not order food and drinks at the bar counter and all visitors will sit at their tables. Amusement parks and zoos have also reopened.

      The hospitality business will also resume operations as the authorities will allow people to travel across the country starting Monday.

      In addition, up to 15 people will be able to attend weddings and up to 30 are allowed at funerals.

      The next round of the gradual easing of the restrictions is scheduled for 17 May, with pubs and restaurants expected to resume indoor services.

      In Northern Ireland, children will return to schools on Monday, while residents will be able to travel distances of over five kilometers (three miles). People from two different families will be able to meet on the street, but not in private gardens. The construction sector will fully resume operations.

      Another country on the way to relax coronavirus-related restrictions is the Czech Republic. On Monday, the country lifts a state of emergency declared last October, the nationwide nighttime curfew, as well as the ban on movement between regions.

      Czech schools will reopen on Monday for students from the first to fifth grades, who will be divided into several groups, which will switch weekly from in-person to distance learning. In addition, kindergartens will partially resume operations.

      Some non-essential shops, libraries, zoos, botanical gardens will reopen, while several household services — dry-cleaning, sale and repair of auto parts, farmers markets in the open space — will resume work.

      Greece will also lift some coronavirus-related restrictions on Monday, allowing high school and vocational education institutions to reopen, while primary schools and gymnasiums will remain closed until Easter.

      Apart from educational institutions, bookmakers will start working in Greece on Monday.

    • 08:11

      Russia Registers 8,320 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,320 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 8,702 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,649,710, the coronavirus response centre said on Monday.

      "Over the past day, 8,320 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 1,104 cases (13.3 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase fell to 0.18 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 1,833 new coronavirus cases over the same period, down from 2,090 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 706 new cases, up from 694 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 569 new cases, down from 574 on Sunday.

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

      The response centre reported 277 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 377 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 103,263.

      Total recoveries increased by 6,656 over the given period, down from 7,230 the previous day, and reached 4,272,165 in total.

    • 07:47

      Chinese CDC Director Refutes Reportedly Claiming Chinese Vaccines Have Low Protection Rate

      FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed China flag in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020

      Chinese CDC Director Refutes Reportedly Claiming Chinese Vaccines Have Low Protection Rate

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The director of the Chinese Centre of Disease Control (China CDC) Gao Fu told the Global Times he had been misinterpreted by some media, which claimed he admitted that Chinese COVID-19 vaccines had low protection rates.
      Read more
    • 07:39

      India's COVID-19 Expert Panel to Consider Sputnik V Vaccine Approval on Monday

      India's Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 will decide on the authorization of the Sputnik V vaccine emergency use later on Monday, sources in the Indian Health Ministry told Sputnik.

      According to the sources, SEC will most likely greenlight the Russian-made vaccine.

      If approved, Sputnik V will become the third vaccine used in India, alongside home-grown Covaxin and Indian-produced AstraZeneca vaccine — Covieshield.

      The talks about approving the Russian vaccine came in the wake of an 4 April meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that reviewed the current COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination program amid the surge in cases.

      The country's drug regulator began reviewing Sputnik V in late February. Before reaching a decision, its experts have requested information on the vaccine's safety and efficacy from Indian pharmaceutical giant Dr Reddy's Laboratories. On 1 April, the experts additionally asked the company to provide data on the vaccine's stability and storage conditions.

      Expecting the trial results and the upcoming approval, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which promotes Sputnik V, inked production deals with five Indian manufacturers. Under the deal with Hetero Biopharma, the company is set to manufacture over 100 million doses of vaccine annually, with Gland Pharma — up to 252 million doses, with Stelis Biopharma and Virchow Biotech — up to 200 million doses each, and with Panacea Biotec — up to 100 million doses.

      Sputnik V has already been authorized in nearly 60 countries. According to phase 3 trial results published in The Lancet medical journal, the vaccine has 91.6 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

    • 07:30

      Bangladesh Shuts Down Offices, Transport Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Surge

    • 07:11

      Speedy Second Wave of Coronavirus Grips India's Supreme Court as 50% of Staff Infected, Reports Say

       Indian Supreme court in New Delhi

      Speedy Second Wave of Coronavirus Grips India's Supreme Court as 50% of Staff Infected, Reports Say

      In a record-breaking high, India reported a total of 168,912 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours along with 904 deaths. According to the Health Ministry, the country is not only the second-worst hit nation in the world, with a total of 13,527,717 cases, but is also the world’s fourth-worst hit country in terms of active cases.
      Read more
    • 06:40

      Norwegian AstraZeneca Study Finds Link Between Vaccine, Blood Clotting

      Vials labelled AstraZeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken March 10, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

      Norwegian AstraZeneca Study Finds Link Between Vaccine, Blood Clotting

      The serious and potentially lethal side effects have been pinned to “sky high” levels of antibodies, yet the exact mechanism that triggers the condition remains unknown. Nevertheless, the study is said to have repercussions for Norway's decision whether to continue inoculation with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
      Read more
    • 06:37

      Indian Opposition Congress Party Taunts Ruling BJP for 'Mismanagement' of COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

       A man receives a Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, at a vaccination centre, in New Delhi, India, February 13, 2021

      Indian Opposition Congress Party Taunts Ruling BJP for 'Mismanagement' of COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

      In January, India kicked off its national vaccination programme to contain the spread of COVID-19. The government has prioritised health and frontline workers, before allowing people aged above 60 and 45 and those suffering from certain co-morbidities to get vaccinated.
      Read more
    • 05:43

      Prime Minister Suga Denies Onset of 4th Wave of COVID-19 in Japan

      Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga refuted on Monday speculation that the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic had begun in the country as some parts of Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto prefectures, have seen a spike in infections.

      Concerns over a new wave of the pandemic have been growing since March when the authorities fully lifted a second coronavirus-related state of emergency.

      "The situation has not reached the level of a big wave across the country," Suga said during his address at the parliament, according to Japanese Kyodo news agency.

      The statement came as Japan started on Monday the mass vaccination of the elderly who comprise around 29 percent of the 126-million population. Additionally, to curb the surge in infections, the prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto stepped up their responses to the pandemic, introducing the so-called quasi-state of emergency — bars and restaurants have to close by 8 p.m. local time and the maximum number of attendees at events is limited to 5,000. The authorities have also asked citizens not to go out unless urgently needed, as well as to refrain from traveling to other prefectures. The measures will be in force for about a month.

      Since the outbreak last year, Japan has confirmed more than 507,600 cases of the coronavirus decease, including 9,422 fatalities.

    • 05:26

      Venezuelan Carvativir Drug Effective Against Brazilian Variants of COVID19, President Maduro Says

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the country’s Carvativir treatment is effective against the Brazilian strains of the coronavirus.

      "Carvativir has been tested on the Brazilian variants [of COVID-19], P1 and P2, it is effective against these variants," Maduro said in a televised address on Sunday.

      Maduro announced mass production of the Carvativir drug in January, saying that it effectively dealt with the symptoms of COVID-19. The oral treatment has been approved by Venezuela’s health authorities and is used as an anti-viral medication that boosts immune response.

      According to the latest Johns Hopkins University data, Venezuela has more than 174,800 confirmed coronavirus cases, while the country’s COVID-19 death toll is at over 1,700.

      Venezuela started its mass coronavirus vaccination campaign earlier this year after it received the first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in February.

    • 04:45

      Germany COVID-19 Infections Surpass 3 Mln

    • 04:44

      Thailand Registers Daily Record of 985 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:43

      India Overtakes Brazil as Second Worst-Hit Country by COVID-19

      India has regained the second position in the global chart of confirmed COVID-19 cases as the country recorded nearly 170,000 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to over 13.4 million — about eight million cases short of the United States.

      According to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in the country has reached 13,527,717, while in Brazil — previously ranked second — the number is 13,482,023. Over the past day, COVID-19 was detected in 168,912 Indians, the highest since the onset of the pandemic.

      The surge in COVID-19 cases in India continues for the 33rd consecutive day.

      The death toll has risen by 904 to 170,179 people over the past day. More than 12.1 million patients have recovered.

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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (331)
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