02:27 GMT12 May 2021
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    The global coronavirus tally is now over 138 million cases, with the number of deceased approaching the 3 million mark, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University.

    The US remains the worst-hit nation, with around 31.5 million coronavirus cases, while at least 565,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. Next comes India with over 14 million cases and 173,000 deaths, while Brazil has over 13.7 million cases and around 365,000 deaths - the second-highest death toll in the world.

    At the same time, Mexico is third in terms of the number of deceased, with over 211,000 fatalities and almost 2.3 million infected.

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    • 02:01

      UK Strain of Coronavirus Found in Colombia, President Duque Says

      BOGOTA (Sputnik) – The health authorities of Colombia have confirmed two cases of the UK strain of the coronavirus in the country, Colombian President Ivan Duque said.

      “Today, we have found two cases … of the UK strain of the coronavirus,” the president said on late Friday.

    • 23:08

      Eight People Died of Thrombosis in France After Vaccinated With AstraZeneca Drug, Watchdog Says

      PARIS (Sputnik) – Eight people have died in France over blood clots following the vaccination with the AstraZeneca drug, the National Agency for Medicine and Health Product Safety (ANSM) said.

      As of April 8, more than 2.72 million AstraZeneca vaccines had been used in France.

    • 22:30

      Argentina Registers Record 29,472 New COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina has registered 29,472 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.

      The death toll has risen by 160 to 59,084 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 2,658,628.

    • 20:25

      Pfizer, Moderna Declined J&J Request to Study Vaccine Blood Clot Risks - Reports

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Pfizer and Moderna declined to participate in Johnson & Johnson’s multilateral collaborative study of the recent blood clots side-effects after vaccination against COVID-19, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing people familiar with the matter.

      Johnson & Johnson asked AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna to study the possible safety issues of COVID-19 vaccines but only AstraZeneca, which has been experiencing similar blood-clotting effects in Europe, agreed, the report said.

      Pfizer and Moderna decided not be a part of the joint effort because they did not want their respective vaccines to be associated with either Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca which had been buffeted with adverse side-effects, while no such effects have been reported by people who received the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

    • 20:07

      Canada's Ontario Could See Over 30,000 Daily Cases by Early June, Modeling Data Shows

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - The Canadian province of Ontario could see a near seven-fold rise in daily COVID-19 case counts by June if the province implements “weak” public health measures and continues with a subdued vaccine rollout, new data from an expert panel advising the provincial government revealed on Friday.

      “The models are suggesting that we would’ve had a much, much higher rate of case growth – to an almost unbelievable level of, perhaps, 30,000 before it would peak,” Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, the Ontario government's science advisory co-chair, said, noting that this scenario is less probable following steps taking by Premier Doug Ford in the weeks since the last modelling projections were unveiled.

      The data modelling projections unveiled on April 1 revealed that Ontario was on track to see daily caseloads nearly tripling - to nearly 6,000 - by the end of the month if no action is taken. Ford implemented a four-week lockdown effective April 5 and declared a state of emergency coupled with a stay-at-home order just a week later.

      However, the expert panel anticipates the case counts will surpass their earlier projections, even with increased public health measures in place, swelling to over 15,000 daily cases by the middle of June.

      Brown also warned that all projections point to growing ICU occupancy, which is already at record levels. The modelling suggests that with the current measures in place the province could see 2,000 individuals in intensive care by the middle of next month and stricter restrictions would be needed to cap growth at 1,000 cases.  There are currently 701 individuals under intensive care with COVID-19 related illnesses.

      The panel noted that the growth could be tempered by prolonged employment of the public health orders or introducing even stricter measures. Growing speculation around Queens Park suggests that the Ford government is considering additional measures including a province-wide curfew, travel restrictions and shuttering some construction activity.

    • 20:01

      Moderna Cutting Vaccine Deliveries to Canada by Nearly Half, Minister Says

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - US drugmaker Moderna is cutting its coronavirus vaccine delivery targets to Canada by half amid production issues, the country’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said on Friday.

      "As Moderna indicated this morning, it faces ongoing challenges with ramping up production to meet intense global demand due to labor shortages and other issues. As a result, our next shipment will be smaller than expected and we may see additional delays for the coming months," Anand told reporters.

    • 19:57

      Ukraine's Public Figures No Longer Given Priority COVID Vaccinations, Health Ministry Says

      KIEV (Sputnik) - Public figures in Ukraine will no longer be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine "out of turn," the country's Health Minister Maxym Stepanov stated on Friday.

      Previously, the Health Ministry allowed priority vaccinations to celebrities with residual doses of coronavirus vaccines to popularize inoculation among the public.

      "Before I set out to the studio, I had signed an order, we made changes. We removed all public figures in regards to residual doses. Now there will be no more residual doses for vaccinating public figures, among others. Only people who fall under the [requirements for] first or second stage of vaccination", Stepanov said in a broadcast by Ukraine TV channel.

      He stressed that currently those who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination include health workers, people over 80 and those who live in nursing homes and boarding schools. The minister also noted the country has received significantly less vaccines than previously planned.

    • 16:41

      Turkey Logs Record 63,082 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 16:34

      Sputnik V Developers Call on Health Regulators to Examine Oxford Study on Thrombosis

      Red blood cells

      Sputnik V Developers Call on Health Regulators to Examine Oxford Study on Thrombosis

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The developers of Sputnik V, a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, on Friday called on health regulators across the globe to carefully examine a University of Oxford study on the correlation between rare blood clotting events and different types of COVID-19 vaccines.
      Read more
    • 16:05

      Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Will Last at Least 1 More Week, US Health Agency Says

      The pause on the administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will last at least one more week as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet not earlier than next Friday to discuss the issue of the vaccine side-effects, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.

      “[On Wednesday] the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the 6 cases [of blood clots after Johnson & Johnson vaccine] and provide recommendations”, Walensky said on Friday. “The recommendation from this group of independent experts for a continued pause will allow additional time to review any additional cases that might come in and to them to conduct a complete risk assessment and to evaluate the emergent science. ACIP will meet again this Friday, April 23 from 11 to 5 to provide further recommendations.”

      Walensky also said CDC has reached to about 10,000 health providers to educate them on what to look for in terms of possible side-effects after the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

      Earlier in April, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement recommending a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 confirmed cases of blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets found in women between the ages of 18 and 48. The symptoms occurred between 6-13 days after vaccination.

    • 15:07

      White House: Coronavirus Variants Account for Almost 50% of All New Cases in US

      The coronavirus variants represent almost half of all new cases in the United States, White House Senior Adviser on the COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt said during a briefing on Friday.

      "Right now these variants account for nearly half of all COVID-19 cases in the United States", Slavitt said.

      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Rochelle Walensky said during the briefing that B.1.1.7 or the British variant of the novel coronavirus represents 44 percent of the cases during the week of March 27 and the CDC expects the prevalence of this variant to be higher by now.

      Earlier on Friday, the Biden administration announced the US government will invest $1.7 billion into doing more genomic sequencing to better monitor and prevent the coronavirus variants from emerging.

    • 14:31

      Italy to Start Easing COVID-19 Restrictions on 26 April

      ROME (Sputnik) - Italy will start easing its COVID-19 restrictions starting from 26 April, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday.

      Draghi mentioned that starting from 26 April some Italian regions, where the COVID-19 infection rate is decreasing, will get enter so-called yellow zones that envision less restrictions.

      "One can look to the future with cautious optimism", the prime minister said.

    • 13:38

      Unused COVID Vaccine Doses Reportedly in Place Across US as CDC Recommends 'Pausing' J&J Shots

      A person receives a dose of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a visit of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to a vaccination center in Chinatown, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 6, 2021

      Unused COVID Vaccine Doses Reportedly in Place Across US as CDC Recommends 'Pausing' J&J Shots

      The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was rolled out on 3 March, with over 6.8 million doses of the jab having been administered in the US.
      Read more
    • 13:23

      Thailand Tightens Measures Against COVID-19 Amid Spike in Cases, Official Says

      BANGKOK (Sputnik) - Thailand has decided to tighten its measures against the coronavirus disease for two weeks in response to a recent spike in daily infections, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the country's coronavirus response center, said on Friday.

      Since the first week of April, Thailand went from 26 new cases a day to 1,582 as of Friday. To curb the increase in cases, the government decided to switch all education facilities to distance learning, ban alcohol sales in restaurants and cafes and cut their work hours, as well as cut work hours of shops and malls, close all playgrounds and restrict the use of city parks. The measures will enter into force on Sunday.

      "The decision to impose stricter measures was adopted today at a meeting of the whole center, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha," Witsanuyotin told journalists.

      The country will be divided into two parts. The regions where the disease is spreading the most, including Bangkok and 17 other provinces, will have its restaurants, malls and gyms open until 9 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT). All 24-hour shops will close at 11 p.m. local time and reopen at 4 a.m. The other 59 provinces will have their restaurants open until 11 p,m., while malls will close at 9 p.m. Twenty-four-hour stores will work as usual.

      "The measures were adopted for two weeks; however, the situation will be constantly monitored and, in case of changes one way or the other, the measures will be adjusted accordingly," the spokesman added.

      Since the beginning of the pandemic, Thailand has confirmed a total of 39,038 cases, including 97 fatalities.

    • 13:12

      German Chancellor Merkel Gets AstraZeneca Vaccine Jab

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel got the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday, German cabinet spokesman Steffen Seibert announced.

      "I am happy to have received the first AstraZeneca shot today. I thank everyone who participates in the vaccination campaign and everyone who has got inoculated. Vaccination is a way to overcome the pandemic", Merkel said, as quoted by Seibert.

      Seibert also posted Merkel's vaccination certificate on Twitter.

    • 12:15

      UK Workers in Insecure Jobs Twice as Likely to Die From COVID-19, Union Says

      LONDON (Sputnik) – Bus and taxi drivers, carers, delivery staff, warehouse employees and other workers performing insecure jobs in the UK, and those in contracts that do not guarantee regular hours or income, are twice as likely to have died from COVID-19 compared to others in less risky occupations, the Trades Union Congress said on Friday.

      According to an analysis released by the large union federation representing about 5.5 million workers in England and Wales, the number of COVID-19 deaths among men in insecure jobs was 51 per 100,000, compared to 24 per 100,000 in more secure employments.

      Among women performing riskier jobs, the mortality rate was 25 per 100,000, compared to 13 per 100,000 in less insecure occupations.

      The TUC said that insecure workers account for one in nine workers, with women, disabled workers and black or minority ethnic workers more likely to be in precarious work, adding that all of them face a “triple whammy” of a lack of sick pay, fewer rights and endemic low pay, while having to shoulder more risk of infection.

      “If people can’t observe self-isolation when they need to, the virus could rebound. No-one should have to choose between doing the right thing and putting food on the table,” TUC general secretary Frances O´Grady was quoted as saying.

      The union leader said government ministers must tackle the “scourge” of insecure work by finally bringing forward their promised Employment Bill.

      “It’s time to ban zero-hours contracts, false self-employment and to end exploitation at work,” she stressed.

      In 2019, the Conservative government pledged that it would bring forward a new employment bill to improve people’s rights at work, but no such legislation has been tabled so far.

    • 11:59

      Finland Set to Discuss Sputnik V Purchase After EMA 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.

      Finland Set to Discuss Sputnik V Purchase After EMA Approval

      HELSINKI (Sputnik) - The Finnish Health Ministry said on Friday that it is ready to start negotiations with Russia on imports of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine and its production in Finland once it receives approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
      Read more
    • 11:54

      Italy Runs First ‘COVID-Free’ Train From Rome to Milan

      ROME (Sputnik) - A train that only passengers with a negative COVID-19 test are allowed to board left Rome for Milan on Friday morning, the Italian state railway operator said.

      Trenitalia said the train was half full. The return trip is scheduled for this evening.

      Passengers who do not bring a fresh negative test have to undergo a rapid test, administered at the terminal free of charge. They are eligible for a 100 percent refund if they test positive.

      Italy has started opening itself up again to quarantine-free travel this month in an attempt to revive the tourist industry in time for the summer holiday season. The first "COVID-free" flight from New York landed in Milan on 4 April.

    • 10:29

      Ukraine Receives 1st Batch of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Via COVAX Facility

    • 10:29

      South Africa Launches Electronic Registration System to Vaccinate Senior Citizens

    • 10:28

      Moldova May Hold Snap Election in July If Court Lifts COVID-19 Emergency, Ex-President Says

    • 08:23

      South Korea to Become One of 1st to Launch Full-Scale Production of Sputnik V Abroad

      SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korea will become one of the first countries to launch the full-scale production of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V abroad, as the process of technology transfer to pharmaceutical companies in the Asian country is nearing completion.

      South Korea is at the forefront among foreign vaccine production partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund that is behind Sputnik V exports, as two consortiums — one led by biotech companies GL Rapha and ISU ABXIS and another by pharmaceutical company Huons Global — already inked deals with RDIF on technology transfer and production of the vaccine.

      "I cannot say for sure what the situation is at the factories producing Sputnik V in India, China and other countries, but, as far as I know, South Korea is at the forefront of RDIF's foreign contract manufacturing partners," GL Rapha's representative, Kim Gi Young, told Sputnik.

      RDIF reached the agreement on technology transfer and the vaccine's production with GL Rapha and ISU ABXIS on Thursday, marking the first case of the consortium officially signing a contract with RDIF that included the actual technology transfer.

      According to Kim, GL Rapha has already sent an inspection batch of the vaccine to Russia to complete the validation procedure and expects to be able to start full-scale production in the near future.

      The second consortium, including also Prestige BioPharma, Humedix and Boran Pharma companies, that will complement the one organised by GL Rapha, inked the deal earlier on Friday, with Huons Global planning to launch the pilot production in August, the South Korean company told Sputnik.

      "So far, we cannot disclose detailed schedules for receiving equipment and setting up production, as well as volume obligations, but later we can inform about them. The volumes of supplies, amounts and other details are currently the subject of nondisclosure under the contract. However, we can confirm that we have agreed on a technology transfer," the company added.

      All vaccines produced by both groups in South Korea will be exported abroad, while the Asian country itself does not use Sputnik V.

    • 08:23

      Number of New COVID-19 Cases Approaching Highest Rate So Far, WHO Says

    • 08:03

      More Than Eight Million People in Russia Vaccinated Against COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Says

    • 07:57

      Sweden to Ease Restrictions For People Who've Received at Least One Shot of a COVID-19 Vaccine, Health Agency Says

    • 07:18

      Curfews Are Needed But Not Bullet-Proof Solution, Chancellor Merkel Says

    • 07:18

      Merkel Says Majority of People in Germany Support Government’s Efforts to Tackle COVID-19

    • 05:50

      India's Worst-Hit State Maharashtra Seeks to Vaccinate 700,000 People Per Day, Head of State's Health Department Says

    • 05:04

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine May Also Effectively Protect Animals From COVID-19, Developer 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.

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine May Also Effectively Protect Animals From COVID-19, Developer Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine may also effectively protect animals from COVID-19, Alexander Gintsburg, the head of the Russian Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology Microbiology that developed the drug, told Sputnik.
      Read more
    • 04:35

      India Registers Record 217,353 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

    Live Updates: German Chancellor Merkel Gets AstraZeneca Vaccine Jab
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