06:04 GMT18 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (331)

    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 2.94 million; almost 136.3 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.

    The US is still the most-affected nation amid the pandemic; over 31.3 million have been infected, and the death toll exceeds 562,000. Next is India, with over 13.5 million confirmed cases and more than 170,000 deaths; followed by Brazil, with 13.5 million confirmed cases and over 353,000 fatalities.

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

    Follow Sputnik’s feed to find out more.     

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    • 02:45

      Over 400,000 Servicemen Fully Vaccinated Against Coronavirus in Russia, Defense Ministry Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - More than 400,000 servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces have been fully inoculated against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with two components of the Sputnik V vaccine, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a bulletin.

      "The main efforts in the fight against COVID-19 in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are aimed at carrying out mass voluntary vaccination of military personnel and their families, as well as civilian personnel," the ministry said.

      "To date, 551,991 people have been voluntarily vaccinated with the first component of Sputnik V. A total of 402,549 people have received both shots of the vaccine," it said.

    • 02:27

      Latvia Halts Use of J&J Vaccines, Health Minister Says

      MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Latvia will suspend plans to roll-out the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following advice from both US regulators and the company itself, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts said.

      "We will not be able to start vaccination next week with the Johnson & Johnson drug," Pavluts said on Tuesday. "While the responsible authorities in the United States are thoroughly investigating this issue, as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) did with AstraZeneca, we received information that the manufacturer is asking us not to use this vaccine yet."

    • 00:21

      Number of New Daily COVID-19 Cases in Argentina Hits Record 27,000, Health Ministry Says

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) per day in Argentina has hit a record 27,000 people, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

      Over the past 24 hours, 27,001 people got infected and 217 patients died.

    • 22:10

      Canada Will Not ‘Hesitate’ to Change AstraZeneca Vaccine Licensing if More Issues Emerge

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian health regulators will not hesitate to change the terms of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine license if additional safety issues emerge, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said.

      Hajdu was grilled by the official opposition’s health critic, Michelle Rempel Garner, about the Canada’s first reported case of blood clotting following inoculation with the AstraZenaca vaccine.

      "All vaccines approved for use in Canada undergo routine and scrutinous attention. All adverse effects are reported through Health Canada and Health Canada monitors that data closely and will not hesitate to change its licensing for use in Canada should there be any risk to Canadians," Hajdu said during a Question Period session on Tuesday.

    • 20:57

      Netherlands to Extend COVID Restrictions After April 21, Acting PM Says

      PARIS (Sputnik) - COVID-19 restrictions will stay in effect after April 21 in the Netherlands despite previously announced plans as it still "too soon" to lift them the country's acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated on Tuesday.

      "We expected to start relaxing coronavirus lockdown measures on April 21. We hoped that this could be done ... At the moment, we are making only one change: after schools have opened, preschool educational facilities will now also be able to open," Rutte said at a press briefing.

      The Dutch government has presented a roadmap for lifting coronavirus lockdown measures, including canceling the curfew and opening terraces of cafes and restaurants. However, according to Rutte, that was "too soon."

      "We will take the first step when the peak of the third wave has passed," Rutte stated.

    • 20:33

      Canada Reintroducing Enhanced Screening Measures for Arrivals From Brazil

      TORONTO (Sputnik) – Canada is reintroducing enhanced screening measures at the border for individuals arriving in Brazil amid a surging third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s health ministry said on Tuesday.

      “Effective March 30, 2021, all travellers who have been in Brazil within 14 days of seeking entry into Canada are now subject to secondary screening and increased scrutiny of quarantine plans,” Health Canada said in a statement via Twitter.

    • 20:04

      Brazilian Governors to Seek Government Response on Sputnik V Imports Through Court

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Governors of Brazil's northeastern states intend to appeal to the Supreme Court if they do not receive a response from the national drug regulator Anvisa on the delays in import approval of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, Piaui state governor Wellington Dias announced on Tuesday.

      "We continue to fight for the approval of the Sputinik V vaccine by Anvisa. The vaccine has been approved for use in more than 50 countries and proved its effectiveness. If Anvisa does not justify or detail the reasons for the delay for the approval, we will go to the Supreme Federal Court," Dias tweeted.

      So far, nine Brazilian states requested the national drug regulator to approve the import of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

    • 19:55

      French Luxury Market Corporation LVMH Registers 32% Revenue Increase in Q1 of 2021 After COVID-19 Decline Last Year

      High-end jewellery is displayed at a Cartier store on Place Vendome in Paris, France, July 2, 2019.

      Luxury Products Group LVMH Reports 32% Revenue Growth in Q1 After COVID-Related Losses

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a French multinational corporation that leads the world’s luxury goods market, said on Tuesday it had registered a 32-% revenue increase in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period of 2020, which means the company returned to growth after a decline related to the pandemic.
      Read more
    • 19:46

      One Dose of Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V Develops High Immune Response, Argentine Research Says

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

      Argentine Scientists Say One Dose of Russia's Sputnik V Develops High Immune Response

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V prompts a high immune response even with a single dose, a study by Argentine scientists and cited by the country's government on Tuesday, has shown
      Read more
    • 19:26

      US Launches Trial of Antibody Treatment for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US began a phase 2 trial of a new COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients using monoclonal antibodies that prevent inflammation and tissue damage during advanced stages of the disease, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Tuesday.

      “The laboratory-created monoclonal antibody, called IC14, binds to a human protein, CD14, that is found on the surface of immune cells circulating in the blood and airway fluid,” NIH said in a press release. “CD14 helps immune cells recognize pathogens and injured or dying cells, alerting the immune system to danger and prompting it to respond.”

      The study will involve between 300 and 350 hospitalized COVID-19 patients aged 18 years or older at 10 to 15 sites nationwide. Volunteer participants will be assigned at random to receive intravenous infusions of either IC14 or a placebo for four days, the release said.

    • 19:10

      Poland to Decide on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine in Accordance With EMA

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Poland will follow the decisions and recommendations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

      When asked which decision will be taken on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the ministry's press service told Sputnik that the country, as part of the EU, chose to rely on "decisions and recommendations of the EMA."

      In the meantime, Michal Dworczyk, the Polish government's vaccination commissioner, has confirmed that the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is to arrive in the country on Wednesday, as scheduled. The delivery is due to contain 120,000 doses of the drug, set to be administered for field vaccination, given the medicine is a single dose.

    • 18:58

      Canada Reports First Blood Clot Case Following AstraZeneca COVID-19 Shot

      Canadian health authorities have recorded the first case of blood clotting following inoculation Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Health Canada and the country’s public health agency, PHAC, said on Tuesday.

      “PHAC has received a report of an individual in Canada who has experienced a rare blood clot with low platelets following immunization with COVISHIELD, the [Serum Institute of India] version of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first reported case in Canada,” the federal department said in a statement via Twitter.

      The case will be included in Health Canada’s study of the link between the UK drugmaker’s vaccine and the deadly side effect.

      The federal department emphasized that the side effect is “very rare” and that the report is proof that the vaccine safety monitoring system works.

      Health Canada has pressed pause on inoculating Canadians under the age of 55 with the AstraZeneca vaccine following a recommendation from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI).

      Canadian health regulators have also issued a disclaimer regarding blood clots that may potentially form in individuals who receive an AstraZeneca shot, but have not officially listed it as an official side effect.

      Concern about the rare side effect of the vaccine began in mid-March, following dozens of reports of blood clotting after inoculations, prompting several EU countries to halt the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

      Experts at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have confirmed the link between the blood clot events and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. Despite the findings, the EMA still insists that the benefits of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks posed.

    • 17:10

      Norway's Vaccination Campaign to Fall Back 8 to 12 Weeks Without AstraZeneca, J&J Vaccines

      Norway's vaccination campaign will fall 8 to 12 weeks behind the schedule if AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are suspended over safety concerns, Norwegian Institute of Public Health spokeswoman Line Vold stated on Tuesday.

      Norway is expecting a shipment of one million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in June.

      "If the doses do not arrive, it will affect the speed of vaccination. If both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are not used, the vaccination campaign may be finished eight to twelve weeks later than planned, provided other vaccines are delivered as agreed," Vold said at a briefing.

      Earlier in the day, the US health agencies recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to concerns over rare blood-clotting issues. Following the statement, the company announced that it would delay its planned vaccine rollout in Europe.

      The World Health Organization vowed to monitor the review data from the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration before reaching a conclusion on the safety of the vaccine.

    • 17:09

      WHO to Monitor, Wait for EMA, FDA Reviews on J&J COVID-19 Vaccine Over Blood Clot Fears

      The World Health Organization (WHO) will await and subsequently monitor safety reviews of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine conducted by national medical agencies after US regulators recommended a pause in the vaccine's use following reports of blood clotting, a WHO representative said on Tuesday.

      "We're watching closely, waiting for EMA [European Medicines Agency] and FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] reviews, and monitoring the global database of adverse event reports to see if there have been cases anywhere else. It will take a little time to review the data," a WHO representative said in a written statement.

      In a follow-up, the WHO representative confirmed that the organization was in close contact with the relevant medical regulators as the review into the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is conducted.

      "WHO is monitoring closely and is in close contact with EMA, FDA and other regulators around the world. We look forward to reviewing the findings from the EMA and the US," the representative said.

      WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety is monitoring the reports of adverse side effects to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and will communicate its findings once an in-house review is concluded, the representative added.

      The FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement earlier on Tuesday recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine following reports that some individuals who received shots of the vaccine developed a rare blood clotting disorder.

      Johnson & Johnson said in a press release that it will delay the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe as a precautionary measure.

    • 17:08

      German Social Democrats Support Mandatory COVID-19 Testing of Workers

      COVID-19 testing of employees that cannot work from home should be obligatory for German businesses, as it is the best way to prevent the third wave of the pandemic, Katja Mast, the spokeswoman for Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), stated on Tuesday.

      "The SPD fully supports mandatory testing in companies. I am glad that [SPD lawmakers] Hubertus Heil and Olaf Scholz pushed it through. I urge all employers to finally give up their opposition and start offering tests," Mast said, noting that this measure is not a sign of mistrust but an effective step toward preventing the spread of the virus.

      According to Mast, those companies that already offer sufficient testing have nothing to fear if the proposition is approved, but those that now refuse to participate will be obligated to join in on the efforts.

      Earlier in the day, the Berlin Senate Department for Health told Sputnik that German citizens can do free COVID-19 tests daily upon presenting an ID or insurance certificate. The regulations that came into force in the country on March 8 allow all citizens to take free COVID-19 tests "at least once a week" in special facilities, and the procedures will be compensated by the government starting May.

      The German government has also backed a draft law introducing the so-called emergency brake mechanism, which allows setting tougher restrictions in areas with higher infection rates, as the country has been facing a potential third pandemic wave.

      On Tuesday, Germany registered over 10,000 new cases of coronavirus infection and 294 deaths over the past 24 hours. The numbers have been steadily rising since the end of February.

    • 14:33

      One Dead, Another in Critical Condition Due to Blood Clots After J&J Vaccine, White House Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – One patient in the United States has died and another one remains in critical condition due to blood clots after receiving Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks told reporters on Tuesday.

      “One case was fatal, and one patient is in critical condition,” Marks said during a virtual press briefing.

    • 14:27

      Production of Sputnik V in Italy Expected to Begin in Next 2 Months, RDIF CEO Says

    • 14:06

      Israel to Allow Entry for Vaccinated Foreign Tourists Starting Late May

      TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Groups of foreign travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to visit Israel beginning from May 23, the country's health and tourism ministries said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

      "Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein have reached an agreement on how to receive groups of vaccinated tourists from foreign countries. Starting from May 23, Israel's borders will be open at the first stage for the entry of vaccinated foreign travelers in groups as they will be easier to monitor," the statement read.

      Tourists will be obliged to pass a PCR test before boarding their flight, as well as to pass a serological analysis at Ben Gurion Airport to confirm immunity against the infection, according to the statement. Individual travelers are expected to be allowed to enter Israel at a later stage.

      The tourism chief, in turn, pointed out that she will continue to insist on the full restoration of inbound tourism, as it will help Israel overcome current economic challenges and also will provide more employment opportunities for those in need.

    • 13:24

      Production Volume of Sputnik V in India May Reach Over 50 Million Doses Per Month By Summer, RDIF Head Says

      The production volume of Sputnik V, a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, may reach over 50 million doses per month by summer, Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said on Tuesday.

      "We expect Sputnik V's production in India to reach over 50 million doses per month by summer," Dmitriev said during a briefing.

      The RDIF CEO also said that some Indian companies are already producing Sputnik V.

      "Some [companies] have already passed the mandatory checks and quality control stages. We guarantee that the quality control of Sputnik V at various enterprises is very strict," Dmitriev added.

    • 12:04

      Sweden Registers 19,105 New Covid-19 Cases

    • 11:34

      US Recommends 'Pause' for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Amid Blood Clot Concerns

      A nurse draws from a vial of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

      US Recommends 'Pausing' J&J COVID-19 Vaccine as One Blood Clot-Related Death Confirmed

      The FDA released a statement last week acknowledging reports of "serious thromboembolic events" in the US that occurred "in a few individuals following receipt of the [Johnson & Johnson] COVID-19 vaccine", adding they had not yet discovered a “causal relationship with vaccination."
      Read more
    • 11:26

      Scotland to Ease Some COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions Early

    • 10:27

      UK PM Boris Johnson Says COVID-19 Infections Will Rise as Lockdown Eases

      The gradual phasing out of lockdown measures in the United Kingdom is fraught with a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

      Starting Monday, the country dropped several COVID-19 restrictions, reopening non-essential shops and allowing pubs and restaurants to resume outdoor services. The hospitality business also resumed operations as people can now travel inside the country.

      "As we unlock, the result will inevitably be that we will see more infections, sadly, we will see more hospitalizations and deaths, and people have just got to understand that," Johnson said during a televised interview.

      The prime minister stressed that the drop in new cases and hospitalizations was the result of not the mass vaccination campaign but rather the lockdown and restrictions.

      "It is very very important for everybody to understand that the reduction in these numbers, in hospitalizations, and in deaths, and in infections, has not been achieved by the vaccination program. People do not, I think, appreciate that it is the lockdown that has been overwhelmingly important in delivering this improvement in the pandemic," Johnson said.

      Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the UK has reported more than 4.3 million coronavirus cases, according to the health authorities. The country's COVID-19 death toll stands at 149,968.

      The next phase of the UK road map toward easier restrictions is expected to start on May 17. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to resume indoor services. Up to six people from different households will be allowed to meet indoors if the government's scientific advisers consider that the vaccination program is safely breaking the link between infections and deaths.

    • 09:01

      German Government Passes Law on Curfews, Tougher Virus Measures

    • 08:39

      Russian Tennis Player Daniil Medvedev Tests Positive for Coronavirus

    • 08:34

      UK Health Service Invites People Over 45 to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

      People in the United Kingdom aged 45 or over can book an appointment to get their COVID-19 vaccine starting on Tuesday, after the target of offering a first dose to all the population over 50 and priority groups was met two days ahead of schedule, the National Health Service announced.

      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government had pledged that all people over 50, vulnerable patients and health and social care workers would have the opportunity to receive at least one shot by 15 April, but on Monday evening his government announced that the target had been reached.

      “We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine program by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups," Johnson said in a statement, adding that more than 32 million people had been given the “precious protection vaccines provide against Covid-19."

      The government's plan is that all adults in the UK — around 52.7 million — should be offered the vaccine by the end of July.

      The NHS also announced that the Moderna vaccine, which has been rolled out in Wales and Scotland, will begin to be given in England from Tuesday, alongside the vaccines from Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech.

      The UK government has secured 17 million doses of the vaccine developed by the US pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, which according to its manufacturer showed a 94.1 percent efficacy against the virus at the clinical trials.

    • 08:09

      India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Gets Permission to Import Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine

      Dr.Reddy's - Facility Picture

      India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Gets Permission to Import Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - India’s Drug Controller General (DCGI) has issued permission for Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, specialised in pharmacy, to import Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 to India for emergency use, the company said on Tuesday.
      Read more
    • 07:34

      The Lancet Studies Find No Link Between UK COVID-19 Variant, Higher Mortality

    • 06:33

      Iran Hopes to Get More Doses of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine, Zarif Says

      Iran hopes to receive more doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday.

      "I would like to thank the Russian Federation for vaccine delivery, and I hope that through the cooperation between our countries we will be able to license the manufacturing of the Sputnik V vaccine here in Iran and will be able to get more doses of the Sputnik vaccine here in Iran," Zarif said at a press conference, held after negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

      "We have delivered over 500,000 two-component doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to Iran ... We are ready to keep assisting our neighbor's fight against the pandemic, including through organizing vaccine production on the Iranian territory," Lavrov said.

    • 05:51

      First Moderna Vaccines Will Be Delivered in England on Tuesday, Health Service Says

      "More than 20 sites, including Reading's Madejski Stadium and the Sheffield Arena, will initially use the newest vaccine, as the NHS continues to expand the vaccination programme," the health service said in a statement. 

    • 04:28

      India Reports 161,736 New COVID-19 Cases

    COVID-19 Live Updates: One Dead, Another in Critical Condition Due to Blood Clots After J&J Vaccine
    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (331)
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