05:54 GMT18 May 2021
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    The global coronavirus tally is now over 141 million, with the pandemic death toll recently surpassing 3 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which collects data from authorities, the media, and other sources.

    The US remains the most affected country, confirming well over 31.6 million infected, while at least 567,000 people have died due to coronavirus. India has the second-highest tally - more than 14.7 million infected and 177,000 fatalities, while Brazil has the second-highest death toll - over 373,000 deaths and around 14 million coronavirus cases.

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    • 18:44

      EU Notes Importance of Getting EMA-Authorised Vaccines to Freely Travel Across Bloc

      EU citizens should choose COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the bloc to fully enjoy the right to travel freely across Europe once digital green certificates are introduced, the European Commission's chief spokesman said on Monday, commenting on vaccine tourism to Russia and Serbia.

      "Let me remind you as well that the European Commission and the member states are working on the green digital certificate, which will be based primarily on EMA authorized vaccines, with all other vaccines being left open to the discretion of member states. So, if you then want to travel within Europe, when the digital green certificate comes into force, it is to your benefit if you have – as you say – stuck around and received an EMA-approved vaccine", Eric Mamer told a briefing, when asked whether people should use an opportunity to travel overseas for a vaccination or "stick around" in Europe to receive an EMA authorised shot.

      The commission's health spokesman, Stefan De Keersmaecker, in turn, noted "an increase in deliveries of the vaccines," which makes the bloc think that "it is indeed possible and realistic" to achieve the 70 percent immunization target by the end of the summer.

      Another important factor, the official continued, is that "the vaccines that are part of our portfolio have been checked for their efficiency and safety by EMA."

      The EU has so far authorised four COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use — those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford and Johnson&Johnson. In early March, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) launched a review of Russia's vaccine Sputnik V.

    • 18:43

      Tokyo Authorities May Request State of Emergency Over COVID-19 This Week, Reports Say

      The authorities of the Tokyo metropolitan area plan to request the central government impose a state of emergency later this week over an increase in cases of coronavirus, Kyodo news agency reported on Monday, citing sources.

      Earlier in the day, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said that his prefecture was expected to file a state of emergency request with the central government on Tuesday. Osaka has been facing a significant increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. The Japanese prefectures of Kyoto and Hyogo may join Osaka in filing such a request.

      Earlier this month, several prefectures, including Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa, tightened the restrictive measures to stem the spread of the disease.

      In January, the Japanese government imposed a state of emergency in 11 prefectures — Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Tochigi, Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Hyogo — which was then extended until March 7 for all prefectures except Tochigi. With the epidemiological situation improving, the central government lifted the state of emergency in six prefectures in late February, but kept it in place in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba until 21 March.

    • 18:37

      US Military to Offer COVID-19 Vaccines to Guantanamo Bay Detainees, Reports Say

      The US Southern Command, which is in charge of the Guantanamo Bay naval base and military prison, will begin offering vaccinations to inmates at the facility starting Monday, according to information received by the New York Times from a Biden administration official familiar with the Pentagon’s plan.

      “This is very much about the force protection of our people down there and the ability to move forward with the military commissions. We have a legal obligation under international law to properly vaccinate these detainees”, the official said.

      A memo from December of last year described the inmates as high-risk and cited both the Geneva Convention and Department of Defense guidelines as reasons to offer the vaccines.

      The base has not reported any cases since officials announced that two military service members contracted the virus during the first month of the pandemic

      Restrictions include a mandatory two-week quarantine for visitors to the base, including lawyers and Red Cross officials. Although trials and attorney visits have largely paused, lawyers who have been able to meet with their clients at the facility reportedly had to meet in conditions that made it difficult to communicate.

      Major Gregory McElwain, a prison spokesperson from the US Southern Command, said the conditions were informed by CDC guidelines. He said that the prison officials have “a responsibility to maintain the health and safety of the detainees and guards.”

      The prison facility at Guantanamo Bay houses some of the most notorious and high-value prisoners, mostly accused terrorists, captured by the US. When officials first planned to begin vaccinating inmates earlier this year, they faced accusations of placing terrorist prisoners over US citizens. Since then, all of the military and civilian employees of the base have been offered vaccinations, thus prompting officials to begin offering them to inmates as of Monday.

    • 16:50

      Turkey Registers 55,149 New Cases, 341 New Deaths

    • 15:53

      All Indians Aged Over 18 to Become Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine From 1 May

      India will open up COVID-19 vaccines to everyone over 18 as part of its liberalised and accelerated phase III of the immunisation strategy starting from 1 May, the ministry of health and family welfare said on Monday.

      Earlier in the day, India reported 273,810 new COVID-19 cases, hitting another all-time daily high. With a population of almost 1.4 billion, the country has administered over 123 million vaccine doses. The Indian regulator has so far approved three vaccines — two domestically-produced shots and Russia's Sputnik V.

      "In a meeting chaired by [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1st May has been taken", the ministry said.

      The country embarked on phase I of the vaccination campaign in mid-January, putting frontline workers and healthcare staff first in line to receive the shots.

      During phase 2 from 1 March, India expanded the vaccination drive to all those aged over 45.

      As part of phase III, India will also liberalize vaccine pricing to boost production and attract new manufacturers, both domestic and international.

      Manufacturers would be required to make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to state governments and in open market before 1 May.

      "Vaccination shall continue as before in Govt. of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age", the ministry continued.

      Those people from priority groups who are awaiting a second dose will be prioritized in the imminusation campaign.

    • 15:50

      Italy Reports 8,864 New Cases, 316 New Deaths

    • 15:15

      Greece Halts Planned J&J Vaccine Rollout

    • 15:05

      Russian, US Academies of Sciences Planning to Discuss Fight Against COVID-19 in May

      The academies of sciences of Russia and the United States are eyeing a meeting in May to discuss the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS) deputy chief said on Monday.

      At an online meeting in July, the two academies of sciences struck an agreement on cooperation in battling COVID-19, which ranges from epidemiological, virological, molecular biological research to studies of socioeconomic and psychological consequences of the pandemic.

      "We have received a relevant letter from the US National Academy of Sciences with a request to hold an initial meeting on the fight against the coronavirus. We are planning to hold this meeting in late May", Vladimir Chekhonin told a gathering of the RAS department of medical sciences.

      According to the researcher, the sides are coordinating the meeting’s date and agenda. The key issues will be diagnostics, treatment and prevention of COVID-19, including the development and use of coronavirus vaccines.

      In addition, the US partners suggested "not bypassing a whole range of pandemic-induced economic issues," the RAS vice president noted.

    • 15:04

      WHO Experts Recommend Not Requiring Proof of Vaccination for International Flights

      WHO experts do not recommend requiring proof of vaccination for international flights, this could exacerbate inequalities in freedom of movement, the World Health Organisation said a statement following a meeting of its emergency committee of on the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

      "Do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution. States Parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement", the statement says.

    • 15:01

      UK Registers 2,963 New Cases, 4 Deaths

    • 14:57

      Israel Signs Deal With Pfizer for Millions of Vaccine Doses for 2022

    • 14:43

      UK Bans Travel From India Amid Record Case Spikes in South Asian Nation

      "We've made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the Red List. This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they've been in India in the previous 10 days", Matt Hancock told parliament. "UK and Irish residents and British citizens who've been in India in the past 10 days before their arrival will need to complete hotel quarantine for 10 days from the time of arrival."

    • 14:13

      Study of Combined Use of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Vaccines to Launch in Spain, Official Says

      Clinical trials on the combined use of two vaccines, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, are set to begin in Spain, Raquel Yotti Alvarez, director of the Carlos III Health Institute, announced on Monday.

      "The COMBIVACS study will be carried out in five hospitals ... COMBIVACS is one of the first clinical trials that aims at analysing the safety and effectiveness of such combined procedures", she said at a press conference.

      The trial will involve over 600 volunteers of various ages who received a shot of AstraZeneca. According to Alvarez, 400 patients will be injected with a second dose of Pfizer's vaccine instead.

      On 8 April, the Spanish Ministry of Health decided to continue vaccinating patients aged 60 to 69 with AstraZeneca. However, the government is yet to decide what to do with those who do not fit the requirements and still cannot receive the second shot of Oxford's vaccine.

    • 14:05

      Indians Aged 18 Years and Older Eligible For Coronavirus Vaccine from 1 May

    • 13:48

      Sputnik V's Efficacy at 97.6% Based on Data Analysis of 3.8Mln Vaccinated Russians - RDIF

      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.

      RDIF: Sputnik V's Efficacy at 97.6% Based on Data Analysis of 3.8 Mln Vaccinated Russians

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The efficacy of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V reached 97.6 percent, based on the analysis of data pertaining to post-vaccination infection percentage among vaccinated Russians, the Gamaleya National Research Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Monday.
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    • 13:20

      US Expands Vaccine Rollout, Allowing Citizens From 16 to Get Jabbed

    • 12:58

      Former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Diagnosed With COVID-19

    • 11:19

      'Matter of Pride': India Hails Its COVID Vaccine Rollout Amid Widespread Crunch, Record Case Surge

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

      'Matter of Pride': India Hails Its COVID Vaccine Rollout Amid Widespread Crunch, Record Case Surge

      Several Indian state governments, including those of Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra, have warned the federal health authorities of depleting vaccine stocks, as the nation grapples with a second COVID wave. Opposition parties say Prime Minister Narendra Modi's insistence on exporting vaccines to other countries has led to the shortfall.
      Read more
    • 10:52

      Russia Confirms 8,589 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:14

      More States in India Demand Indian Railways to Run 'Oxygen Express' as COVID-19 Cases Soar

      Railways getting fully ready to Transport Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and Oxygen Cylinders

      More States in India Demand Indian Railways to Run 'Oxygen Express' as COVID-19 Cases Soar

      In the state of Madhya Pradesh, six COVID-19 patients died in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Shahdol Medical College on Sunday allegedly due to a shortage of oxygen, the Indian Express reported. Hospital authorities refuted the claims, saying jumbo oxygen cylinders were pushed into service when the hospital's oxygen tank supply dried up.
      Read more
    • 08:52

      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Cancels India Trip Over COVID-19 Concerns

      "In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week", a joint statement from the British and Indian government, released by Johnson's office, said. "Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India".

    • 08:34

      Denmark to Administer AstraZeneca Vaccine Amid Those Willing to Take It, Reports Say

    • 08:11

      Russia's RDIF, Hualan Biological Bacterin Agree to Produce 100Mln Sputnik V Doses in China

      Russia's RDIF, Hualan Biological Bacterin Agree to Produce 100Mln Sputnik V Doses in China

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced on Monday that it had reached an agreement with China's Hualan Biological Bacterin to produce over 100 million doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 per year in China.
      Read more
    • 07:58

      Philippines Resumes Vaccination of People Under 60 With AstraZeneca Vaccine, Reports Suggest

      A vial with the AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is pictured in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2021.

      Philippines Resumes Vaccination of People Under 60 With AstraZeneca Vaccine, Reports Suggest

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Philippines has resumed the vaccination of citizens aged 60 and younger with the AstraZeneca vaccine, CNN Philippines reported on Monday, citing the country's Department of Health (DOH).
      Read more
    • 07:29

      In the Footsteps of Rahul Gandhi: India's Bengal State Chief Ditches Campaigning Amid COVID Surge

      Chief Minister of West Bengal state and Trinamool Congress party leader Mamata Banerjee displays the victory symbol during the declaration of the names of the party's candidates for the upcoming legislative assembly elections in Kolkata, India, Friday, March 5, 2021.

      In the Footsteps of Rahul Gandhi: India's Bengal State Chief Ditches Campaigning Amid COVID Surge

      On Sunday, Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi announced he was suspending all public rallies in West Bengal due to the COVID-19 surge, and advised all political leaders "to think deeply about the consequences of holding large public rallies under the current circumstances".
      Read more
    • 06:53

      Delhi to Go Into Lockdown Tonight Until 26 April

    • 06:39

      Ukraine Confirms 6,500 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 06:02

      Sputnik V Trials Continue in Turkey, Vaccine is Not Authorised Yet, Scientist Specifies

      "I told a reporter that Turkey is conducting trials of the Russian vaccine, we have received preliminary positive results only for some of the phases. I have not said anything else, I believe the reporter did not understand me quite correctly. But I am very much upset, I have called the newspaper, and they will soon remove that piece from the website", Afsin Emre Kayipmaz, a member of the Turkish Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, noted.

    • 05:10

      Oxford Scientists Infect Volunteers With COVID-19 After Recovery for Future Vaccines - Report

      A nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen, Wales, Britain April 7, 2021.

      Oxford Scientists Infect Volunteers With COVID-19 After Recovery for Future Vaccines - Report

      At this time, given the regular news worldwide of re-infection cases of those who have recovered from the coronavirus disease, not much is known about what happens to people who have already been infected with the virus and become infected again.
      Read more
    • 04:53

      Turkey Approves Production of Sputnik V Vaccine in the Country, Reports Say

      "Turkey conducted toxicological tests [of the Sputnik V vaccine] and the company that requested its production got an authorisation. The cost of the Russian vaccine in Turkey will amount to approximately $10", Afsin Emre Kayipmaz said, as quoted by Yeni Safak newspaper.

    • 04:43

      Thailand Confirms 1,390 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 04:27

      Fauci Expects Resumption of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Shots in US Within Week

      "My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don't think that's going to happen. I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment", Fauci told US talk shows on Sunday, adding that "hopefully by Friday we’ll know".

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