18:19 GMT15 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (329)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection throughout the world has topped 2.96 million; over 137 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.

    Currently among the most affected nations are the US (31 million infected, 563,000 deaths), Brazil (13.5 million cases and a death toll of over 355,000) and India (13.1 million cases, 171,000 fatalities).

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

    France is temporarily suspending air traffic with Brazil due to the widespread resurgence of the Brazilian coronavirus mutation across the country.

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    • 03:31

      Argentina Imposes Ban on Movement of Citizens in Capital Due to COVID-19, President Says

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Argentina is imposing a ban on the movement of citizens from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in the metropolitan area due to a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases, President Alberto Fernandez said.

      Fernandez said that in the past month, Argentina has seen the number of infections more than double, most of them concentrated in the capital area - Buenos Aires and the suburbs.

      "I have made a series of decisions that we will only apply in the metropolitan area. Night movement will be prohibited between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. At this time it will be impossible to walk the streets, all indoor entertainment, sports, cultural and religious events will be prohibited," he said.

    • 00:43

      South African Coronavirus Strain Spreading in Estonia, Senior Health Official Says

      HELSINKI (Sputnik) - The coronavirus situation in Estonia has begun to improve, but experts are concerned about the spread of the South African COVID-19 strain in the country, Deputy Director General of the Health Board Mari-Anne Harma said.

      “As of today, 90 percent of infections in Estonia are caused by the so-called UK virus strain, but the share of the South African strain is gradually increasing. In cooperation with the University of Tartu, we have detected 37 cases of infection with this strain," Harma said at a news conference in Tallinn.

      "Eleven of them, so to speak, are local, that is, not imported from abroad. Eight of them are interconnected, that is, one person brought the virus from abroad, and then it has already passed to people in close contact with him," she said.

    • 00:05

      Argentine President, Infected With COVID-19, to Return to Work on April 15, Doctors Say

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, infected with the novel coronavirus disease, will return to work on April 15, the head of state's medical team said.

      "The president is feeling good, he has no symptoms. On Thursday, April 15, he will resume his normal activities," the team said.

    • 23:56

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Brazil Surpasses 360,000 People

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The death toll from the coronavirus in Brazil has increased by 3,459 to 361,884 people within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said.

      The number of confirmed cases has risen by 73,513 to 13,673,507 within the same period of time, according to the ministry.

      More than 12.17 million people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

    • 22:19

      Vaccines in The Americas Fall Short of Supply Needed to Halt COVID-19 Surge, Pan American Health Dept Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Reduced vaccine deliveries to Latin American and Caribbean nations in recent weeks underscore the need to rely on other mitigation measures amid a surge in coronavirus cases, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne warned on Wednesday.

      “I cannot stress this enough - for most countries, vaccines are not going to stop this wave of the pandemic. There are simply not enough of them available to protect everyone in the countries at greatest risk,” Etienne said in a press release based on her weekly media briefing.

      In recent weeks, constraints on producers have slowed vaccine deliveries, and supplies are not expected to normalize for a few more weeks, Etienne said.

      Etienne urged nations to double down on mitigation measures such as face masks and social distancing, while warning against a continued trend of nations relaxing restrictions designed to slow the contagion.

    • 21:18

      Global Vaccine Inequity "Completely Unacceptable", US Trade Representative Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The imbalance in the global supply of coronavirus vaccines is unacceptable and the World Trade Organization and drug manufacturers and distributors must help remedy the situation, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in her opening remarks to a World Trade Organization (WTO) conference on COVID-19 and vaccine equityon Wednesday.

      "The significant inequities we are seeing in access to vaccines between developed and developing countries are completely unacceptable," Tai said. "This is not just a challenge for governments. This challenge applies equally to the industry responsible for developing and manufacturing the vaccines."

    • 20:46

      Cyprus to Refrain From Using J&J Vaccine Pending Blood-Clotting Investigation in US

      ATHENS (Sputnik) - Cyprus will not utilize the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine until the investigation into blood clot events in the United States is completed, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

      "According to the Johnson & Johnson recommendation to the EU member states, a batch of 2,400 doses of the Janssen vaccine received today in Cyprus will not be distributed for vaccination in line with the national immunization plan for the time being," the ministry said in a statement.

      The manufacturer's recommendation was issued as a precautionary measure pending the conclusions of the investigation into cases of a rare blood clotting disorder, developed by US women with ages ranging from 18 to 48 shortly after they received shots. Besides, Cyprus is also awaiting the conclusions of the European Medicines Agency, which has received data on the matter from Washington, the statement read.

    • 19:30

      US Treasury Disburses Another Two Million COVID-19 Relief Payments

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government issued two million COVID-19 relief payments in a fifth batch totalling $3.4 billion, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

      "The US... [is] disbursing nearly 2 million payments in the fifth batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan," Treasury said in a statement. "Today’s announcement brings the total disbursed so far to approximately 159 million payments, with a total value of more than $376 billion since... March 12."

    • 17:56

      Switzerland Eases COVID Measures, Allows Mass Gatherings From Next Week

      Switzerland has decided to re-allow mass gatherings in public spaces, with several stipulations, starting April 19, Alain Berset, the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, announced on Wednesday.

      "This morning we decided to open the terraces of restaurants, cinemas and fitness centres, as well as hold mass events," Berset said in a statement.

      The new guidelines, which will come into effect next Monday, allow for people to visit public terraces, but they are limited to groups of four, must remain seated at the tables, and must register their visit with officials.

      Although the Central European nation set five criteria needed to begin lifting anti-COVID restrictions back in March, they have still yet to achieve four of the five. For example, intensive care units in the country remain above the 70 percent capacity benchmark. Nevertheless, they have decided to go forward and begin reopening public spaces.

      Places such as theatres, concert halls, zoos, and public parks will reopen to the public, with the stipulation that people practice social distancing and continue wearing masks around others. However, individuals who have received a COVID vaccination or already contracted the virus are not required to wear masks.

      Open-air gatherings in the country will be limited to 100 participants, and gatherings in closed spaces will be limited to 50. It is recommended that private activities such as sports be limited to no more than 15 people.

      Europe continues to move forward with its mass vaccination endeavor in spite of recent setbacks involving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has seen shipments to the continent paused after officials began investigating a rare blood-clotting side effect.

    • 17:18

      Canada Finds Stronger Link Between Blood Clots, AstraZeneca Shot, Still Endorses Full Use

      A Canadian safety review of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine concluded that blood clotting events are possibly linked to it, the country's Chief Medical Adviser Supriya Sharma said on Wednesday.

      "After completing the safety review, we’ve concluded that these very rare events are possibly linked to the use of the vaccine," Sharma told reporters.

      As a result of the review, Canadian health officials are now introducing a warning section indicating the "stronger link" between the blood clotting events and the AstraZeneca vaccine on the safety label and are encouraging those who have a history of the unusual thrombosis with a low platelet count to consult with their doctor if considering being vaccinated, Sharma said

      In addition, Sharma said those individuals who experience such adverse side effects should receive a second vaccine dose from a different manufacturer. Health Canada is also issuing guidance to health care providers concerning the warning signs of the vaccine's potentially deadly side effect, but still endorses the use of the vaccine.

      Health Canada had temporarily paused inoculation of Canadians under the age of 55 with the AstraZeneca vaccine following a recommendation from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI).

    • 16:38

      Russian Vaccine Producer Offers to Share Sputnik V Purification Tech With Other Countries

      The centre behind the creation of Russia’s Sputnik V shot against the coronavirus said Wednesday it was ready to share its purification technology with other COVID-19 vaccine producers.

      "The Gamaleya Center is ready to share its purification technology with other vaccine producers in order to help them minimize the risk of adverse effects during vaccination," a statement read.

      The centre attributed the safety and efficacy of the vaccine to its four-stage purification process, which reduces the risk of naked DNA turning up in the product. Free DNA has been suspected to play a role in patients developing adverse immune reactions, including those involving platelets.

      "A comprehensive analysis of adverse events during clinical trials and over the course of mass vaccinations with the Sputnik V vaccine showed that there were no cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis," the centre said.

      The use of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines has been discontinued or restricted in some countries amid reports of them causing blood clots in the brains of patients with a low count of platelets.

    • 16:05

      Sputnik V Vaccine Does Not Cause Blood Clots, Developer Says

      A shipment of doses of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

      Russia's Gamaleya Institute Confirms No Thrombosis Cases After Use of Sputnik V Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - No thrombosis cases were registered after the use of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, the vaccine's developer, Gamaleya Institute, said on Wednesday.
      Read more
    • 15:52

      EU to Be Able to Vaccinate 70% of Adults by Mid-July, Commissioner Says

      European Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Wednesday that with increased vaccine production, the EU is on track to vaccinate 70 percent of adults by this summer.

      His comment was a reply to a tweet published earlier that day by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who announced that the EU will be accelerating the delivery of 50 million BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine doses starting this month.

       

      Breton, a businessman and former French finance minister, came under fire earlier this month for claiming that there would be no exportation of the AstraZeneca vaccine outside of the EU until the EU met its targets first.

      This news comes in the wake of Johnson & Johnson’s decision to suspend the delivery of their single-dose, viral vector vaccines to Europe following reports of a rare blood clotting disorder developing in 6 women who received the vaccine.

      In the meantime, Europe seems to be leaning on BioNTech-Pfizer's double-dose, mRNA vaccine going into the second quarter of 2021. The 50 million doses mentioned by von der Leyen were initially supposed to be delivered later this year during quarter four, but the hastened deliveries are expected to help speed up the herd immunity process and offset the impact of the delays to the Johnson & Johnson jab.

    • 15:50

      UK Prime Minister to Shorten Trip to India in Light of COVID-19 Case Surge, Spokesperson Says

    • 15:38

      US Intel Not Sure Where Covid-19 Virus Originated, Director Says

    • 14:12

      EMA Expects to Issue New Recommendation on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Next Week

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Medicines Agency (EMA) plans to issue a new recommendation on the use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson next week, the EU regulator said on Wednesday.

      The EMA said that is working closely with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which recommended a halt to the use of the vaccine after six women developed a rare blood clotting disorder shortly after receiving the vaccination, and other regulators.

      "EMA is expediting this evaluation and currently expects to issue a recommendation next week. While its review is ongoing, EMA remains of the view that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects. The Agency’s scientific opinions provide EU Member States with the information they need to take decisions on the use of vaccines in their national vaccination campaigns," the EMA said in a statement.

    • 14:11

      Czech First Deputy Prime Minister Will Travel to Moscow to Negotiate Purchase of Sputnik V Vaccine

    • 14:08

      Sputnik V Talks Unaffected by Delivery of 1Mln Doses of Pfizer Vaccine to Austria, Kurz Says

    • 14:01

      Denmark Becomes First European Country to Drop AstraZeneca Vaccine

    • 13:36

      Regional Head in France's Southeast Pre-Orders 500,000 Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine

      Renaud Muselier, the head of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region in southeastern France, said on Tuesday that he had secured half a million shots of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, pending approval at the European level.

      Muselier explained the move as a means of making up for shortages of other vaccines in the country — the result of cuts in deliveries by manufacturers of vaccines which have been approved for use in France, namely, those from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

      "I saw Ambassador of Russia [to France Aleksey Meshkov] and [the head of] German land of Bavaria [Markus Soder] which is the most powerful in Germany, and I made a pre-order of 500,000 doses for the Sputnik V while pending authorizations from European health authorities," Muselier said on the French RTL broadcaster, adding that he made the order "at his level," just as Germany's Bavaria did.

      Notably, last week Bavaria placed a preliminary order in cooperation with the Russian Direct Investment Fund of potential Sputnik V deliveries to the region once it is authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The anticipated first batch of the Russian vaccine to the region contains 2.5 million doses.

      In the meantime, the EMA has been evaluating Sputnik V since 4 March. However, several EU countries, including Slovakia and Hungary, have already approved its use without waiting for EMA authorization. Overall, the Russian vaccine has been approved in 60 countries worldwide.

      France's nationwide immunization campaign began in late December 2020. To date, 11,340,564 million people have received the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 3,977,406 million citizens have received two.

    • 13:33

      US Registers 77,878 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:42

      Von der Leyen Says EU Has Reached 100 Million Vaccinations

    • 11:22

      Sputnik V Vaccine Will Be Available to 125 Million People in India, Dr Reddy's Laboratory Says

      The CEO of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratory Deepak Sapra revealed the roll out plan for the supply, storage and distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine in India.

      During the first phase, around 125 million people will be getting the Sputnik V vaccine (250 million vaccine units) as part of a contract with RDIF; it will be manufactured in four centres in India.

    • 11:17

      Malaysia Reports 1,889 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 09:44

      South Africa Not Considering Terminating Johnson & Johnson Contract

    • 09:16

      UK Study Into Mixing Different COVID-19 Vaccines Expanded to Include Moderna, Novavax Jabs

      A trial being conducted in the UK to see how well people react when they are given two different types of COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second doses has been expanded to include the Moderna and the Novavax shots, the Oxford Vaccine Group announced on Wednesday.

      The Comparing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule Combinations (Com-Cov) study led by the University of Oxford began in February with volunteers who were given a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer’s and vice versa.

      "If we have flexibility in which vaccines we give for the second dose or later doses it massively increases the flexibility and resilience of the immunisation programme and would mean we could roll these vaccines out more quickly - not just in the UK, but internationally," Oxford Vaccine Group chief investigator, Matthew Snape, told BBC’s Radio 4.

      According to the expert, some studies suggest a combination might give better immune response overall.

      He said that they now hope to recruit 1,050 volunteers over 50 years of age who had already received one dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines in the past eight to 12 weeks.

      The Moderna vaccine was recently added to the UK’s immunization program, which has already seen over 32,2 million people given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while the Novavax drug is still waiting for the green light from the UK regulator.

    • 08:57

      Poland Receives 1st Batch of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

      The first batch of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered to Poland, Michal Kuczmierowski, the head of the government's Agency for Strategic Reserves (RARS), said on Wednesday.

      "According to the plan, some 120,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived in Poland," Kuczmierowski told reporters.

      Given that the vaccine is a one-shot regimen, it is planned to be used by mobile teams to immunized those who cannot attend vaccination centers, including bedridden patients.

      Commenting on the vaccine's safety, Athena Linos, a professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Medical School, told Sputnik that the gender and age of recipients should be taken into account while administering the drug.

      "It is necessary to take note of the age and gender of the people who will be vaccinated as this [side effect] appears to be related to the use of birth control pills," Linos said.

      The specialist believes that Greece — set to roll out the vaccine on 19 April — should revise the use of the Johnson & Johnson drug, noting that women aged 40 and younger should receive a coronavirus vaccine developed by other drugmakers.

      On Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration recommended suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of precaution after six recipients — women between the ages of 18 and 48 — developed a rare blood-clotting disorder. The symptoms occurred between 6-13 days after vaccination. The US pharmaceutical company has since decided to delay its planned vaccine rollout in Europe. In the meantime, Poland's health ministry said that it would follow the decisions and recommendations of the EU regulator when asked what decision will be taken on the vaccine use.

    • 08:41

      Polish Government Says COVID-19 Restrictions to Remain in Force for an Extra Week

    • 08:10

      Russia Registers 8,326 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,326 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,173 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,666,209, the coronavirus response centre said on Wednesday.

      "Over the past day, 8,326 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 1,156 cases (13.9 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase stands at 0.18 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 1,837 new coronavirus cases over the same period, up from 1,782 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 712 new cases, up from 701 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 568 new cases, up from 533 on Tuesday.

      No new cases were registered in the Nenets Autonomous Region.

      The response centre reported 399 COVID-19 fatalities, up from 338 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 104,000.

      Total recoveries increased by 9,447 over the given period, down from 9,611 the previous day, and reached 4,291,223 in total.

    • 08:07

      Bollywood Actor Ashutosh Rana Tests Positive For COVID-19 Week After Taking First Jab of Vaccine

      The 53-year-old actor took to social media and informed that he'D contracted the virus days after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 6 April.

    • 05:40

      Ukraine Detects 14,533 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:53

      Thailand Reports 1,335 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 04:40

      India Registers 184,372 New COVID-19 Cases

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