06:49 GMT08 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (327)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 3.055 million; over 143.5 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 United States, India, and Brazil are the worst-hit in terms of the number of registered coronavirus cases, while the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths has been observed in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and India, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    About 27 million people in the European Union have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said at a press conference.

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    • 00:36

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Colombia Surpasses 70,000 People – Health Ministry

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people who have died of the coronavirus in Colombia has risen by 430 and surpassed 70,000 people within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said.

      “Within the past 24 hours, we have received information about 430 new fatalities,” the Health Ministry said on late Thursday, adding that the death toll has thus reached 70,026 people.

      Over the same period of time, the number of new cases has risen by 19,306 to 2,720,619.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 144.24 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 3.06 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 21:21

      Canada to Ban Flights From India, Pakistan For 30 Days Due To Covid-19 Concerns - Transportation Minister

      Canadian transport minister stressed on Friday that the country is going to suspend for a month flights from India and Pakistan due to coronavirus-related reasons. The restriction is expected to come into force later Thursday.

      The official also said that the country would not hesitate to impose ban on passenders, arriving from other countries, if needed.

       

    • 21:04

      Israel, Bahrain Mutually Recognize COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates - Ashkenazi

      TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israel and Bahrain on Thursday reached an agreement to mutually recognize the COVID-19 vaccine certificates, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

      "I want to thank my friend, Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani for his leadership that has resulted in the historic agreement between #Israeli and #Bahrain to mutually recognize the green passport and corona vaccine certificate," Ashkenazi tweeted.

      The top Israeli diplomat added that this step would bolster tourism and economies, as well as help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Last September, Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed agreements — known as the Abraham Accords — on normalizing relations.

    • 19:48

      Belgium Registers Indian COVID-19 Variant For the First Time

      The COVID-19 strain that led to a surge in coronavirus rates in India has been recorded in Belgium for the first time amid several Indian students who arrived from Paris, AFP reported on Tuesday, citing Belgian authorities.

      According to government commissioner Pedro Facon, the new coronavirus variant was detected among twenty nursing students, who arrived in Belgium in mid-April after travelling from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

    • 18:31

      Switzerland Reports First Coronavirus-Linked Death of Teenager

      A teenager died in Switzerland in late March after testing positive for the coronavirus, in what media say could be the first death in the 10-19 age bracket.

      The charts published by the Federal Office of Public Health do not give any other details but the Tages-Anzeiger daily said the deceased was a 19-year-old from the central Swiss canton of Lucerne.

      The paper said that the federal statistics included all patients who had tested positive for the virus, regardless of whether it was the cause of the death.

      The December death of a 29-year-old man, who went down in the records as the first coronavirus victim in his age group, was later ruled out by doctors to have occurred due to the virus.

      Switzerland has recorded 10,000 virus-related deaths, including those of the 19-year-old and two under-10s. Patrick Mathys, the head of crisis management at the public health office, said Tuesday that infections had been increasingly reported in the younger population.

    • 17:53

      Sputnik V Powder Form Has Edge Over Other Vaccines in India, Head of Medical Association Says

      The powder form of the Russian-developed Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has the advantage of  better shelf life than other vaccines used in India, the president of the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO), K K Aggarwal, said on Thursday.

      "Sputnik V vaccine in powder form has more shelf life than currently existing vaccines in India. This will ease the storage process and ensure that even the remote areas have access to the vaccine," Aggarwal, who is a former president of the Indian Medical Association, said.

      The CMAAO chief pointed to the importance of vaccine durability in terms of India's geographic specifics.

      "It's one of the most important points in favour of Sputnik V vaccine, as Indian masses live in rural areas and it's very difficult to preserve Indian vaccines for so long, while Sputnik V vaccine has an edge in this aspect," Aggarwal noted.

      India's vaccines portfolio currently includes three vaccines against COVID-19, namely, the locally-produced variant of AstraZeneca vaccine branded Covieshield, India's Covaxin, and recently authorized Russia's Sputnik V. The deliveries of the Russian vaccine are due to begin later in April, and its production is due to start next month.

      The volume of the Sputnik V vaccine production in India will be gradually increasing and may exceed 50 million doses per month, becoming responsible for some 60-70% of the global Sputnik V production.

      Sputnik V, the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine, has been approved for emergency use in 60 countries across the globe. According to an interim analysis from the trial published in The Lancet, the vaccine has 91.6 percent efficacy.

    • 16:09

      New US Trial Tests Multi-Drug Cocktail on Patients With Severe COVID-19, Health Dept. Says

      The United States began enrolling hospitalized patients who are unable to maintain blood oxygen levels needed to survive due to severe COVID-19 infection in a phase 3 trial of drug combinations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Thursday.

      "Finding more effective therapeutics for critically ill COVID-19 patients remains an essential need in the ongoing response to the pandemic," the NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said in a press release. "We need more treatment options to increase the chances of recovery for people who are extremely sick so they can leave the hospital more quickly, continue their recovery at home, and return to life as usual."

      The trial involves two medications now used for less severe cases: the anti-viral drug remdesivir and aviptadil, the synthetic version of a substance made naturally in the human body that appears to have lung-protective antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, the release said.

      Both drugs are licensed in the United States for treating hospitalized patients with COVID-19, however, the benefit in patients with more severe COVID-19 remains unclear, the release added.

      The trial consists of multiple sub-studies, each enrolling about 620 patients who require high-flow supplemental oxygen, including those on ventilators. Patients will be randomly assigned to either receive one of the two drugs, a cocktail of both drugs or a placebo, according to the release.

    • 15:12

      WHO Says Plans Agreed to Conduct Joint Visit of Sputnik V Manufacturing Sites With EMA From 10 May

      The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are set to conduct a joint visit of facilities where Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is produced from May 10 through to June, a WHO representative said on Thursday.

      "Inspections for good clinical practices are being undertaken in April, by a joint EMA/WHO team. On-site inspections for Good Manufacturing Practices are expected to take place from 10 May to the first week of June, which are the dates that have been agreed with the manufacturer," the representative said.

      Both the WHO and the EMA are still receiving data from the Gamaleya Centre, the developer of Sputnik V, as part of a continued review process, the representative added. 

    • 14:14

      Turkey Says Will Add Sputnik V to List of COVID Vaccines Used in the Country

      Production of anti-coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V

      Turkey to Start Using Russian Vaccine Sputnik V Soon, Health Minister Says

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey will soon start using the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, the country's health minister, Fahrettin Koca, said on Thursday.
      Read more
    • 14:12

      Two Elderly Women Die From COVID-19 in Spain After Being Fully Vaccinated, Report Says

      Two elderly women died in Spain's Extremadura region after contracting COVID-19 despite being administered both shots of the vaccine, El Mundo newspaper reported on Thursday, citing the local health authorities.

      According to El Mundo, both patients were over 80 years old and passed away in April after being fully vaccinated. Reportedly, these are the only cases since the start of the country's vaccination campaign in December when people died from COVID after receiving both shots of the drug. Another person died in March after being administered the first vaccine dose, El Mundo said.

      The health services of the Extremadura region have classified these two deaths as "vaccine side-effects" after receiving batches of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, El Mundo stated.

      The authorities are currently investigating the details of the incidents and trying to establish which day after vaccination the patients contracted the virus.

    • 14:09

      Russia's Sputnik V COVID Vaccines Arrive in Iran

    • 13:06

      Cambodia Reports 446 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:44

      Kazakhstan to Start Using Own Vaccine for Vaccination Against COVID-19 on 26 April

      Kazakhstan will start administering its home-made vaccine, QazVac, to inoculate against COVID-19 starting 26 April, the government press office said on Thursday.

      “The first 50,000 QazVac jabs will be distributed to ‘SK-Farmatsiya’ hubs and then delivered to the health ministry offices’ warehouses in all regions of the country. The vaccination of population with QazVac vaccine will begin on April 26,” the statement said.

      According to it, the country plans to produce another 50,000 jabs in May and will increase the output capacity to 600,000 doses a month in the future.

      The ministry also said that the World Health Organization has registered QazVac vaccine, whose “full safety was proved.” 

      Deputy Prime Minister Yeraly Tugzhanov took part on Thursday in a ceremony for the shipment of the vaccine's first batch, mentioning that creation of the vaccine "allows our country enter the top-five of countries of the world that developed their own vaccines against the coronavirus.”

      The country already uses Russia’s Sputnik V. According to the official data, about 800,000 people have so far received the first shot and around 130,000 underwent the full inoculation in Kazakhstan.

      In October 2020, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev directed scientists to develop Kazakhstan’s own vaccine. The first batch was produced by Kazakhstan's Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems.

    • 12:25

      Malaysia Detects 2,875 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 12:08

      Bangladesh Records 4,014 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:03

      Sweden Registers 7,736 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:56

      Norway to Send 216,000 AstraZeneca Vaccines to Sweden, Iceland

      Norway has decided to lend its stock of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to neighboring Sweden and Iceland as long as the vaccine is suspended for use over blood-clotting concerns, the Ministry of Health and Care Services said on Thursday.

      "Sweden and Iceland have expressed a desire to receive Norway's doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine stored in the public health institute. Norway wants to lend the vaccine, the use of which is halted in the country," the ministry said in a statement.

      If Norway resumes the vaccine's use, the authorities will ask the neighbors to return the number of doses that were transferred to them from the nearest deliveries.

      Norway currently stores 216,000 doses of the vaccine that expire in June-July. Of those, Sweden is expected to receive 200,000 doses, while the rest will be sent to Iceland.

      Norway, along with most EU member states, suspended the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine last month due to multiple cases of post-inoculation blood-clotting. An expert group is set to review the possibility of using the vaccine and make a final decision by 10 May.

    • 11:55

      EU Members Agree on Technical Specifications for Future Digital COVID-19 Passports

      The EU member states have agreed on technical specifications for the Digital Green Certificate, which certifies a person's COVID-19 vaccination status and facilitates movement across the bloc, ahead of its planned rollout in June, the European Commission said on Thursday.

      European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the launch of the bloc-wide coronavirus vaccination passports last month.

      "Member States representatives in the eHealth Network agreed on guidelines describing the main technical specifications for the implementation of the system ... It is of utmost importance to advance the work on the technical implementation, in parallel to the ongoing legislative process, to ensure a roll-out of Digital Green Certificates across the EU by June 2021," the EU body said in a press release.

      The specifications, in particular, concern data structure and encoding mechanisms, including the QR code, set to ensure that certificates issued on paper can also be verified across the EU.

      "The guidelines also describe the EU gateway ... [that] will allow the sharing of electronic signature keys so that the authenticity of Digital Green Certificates can be verified across the EU. No personal data of certificate holders will pass through the gateway, as this is not necessary for the verification," the press release read.

      The member states also specified reference implementations for software to issue the digital certificates, a reference app to verify these passports, and a template for a wallet app for citizens to store them.

    • 11:54

      Indonesia Detects 6,243 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 11:48

      Turkey to Launch 3-Day COVID-19 Lockdown Over National Holiday

      Turkey will implement the three-day nationwide lockdown from the evening of 22 April until the morning of 26 April to prevent increase in coronavirus infections during the national holiday, the Ministry of Interior said.

      "Due to the 23 April national sovereignty and children's day being public holiday, the three-day lockdown, will be implemented, specifically for this weekend. The lockdown will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday April 22 and end at 5 a.m. on Monday 26 April so as to cover in entirety Friday, Saturday and Sunday," the ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.

      The Turkish government has recently increased COVID-19 restrictions due to the rise in the number of new cases. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey has been growing steadily since the beginning of spring, and has climbed to more than 60,000 new infections in 24 hours last week.

    • 11:21

      Swedish PM Lofven Says Postpones Easing of Some COVID-19 Restrictions

    • 11:18

      WHO to Review China's Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine at 26 April Meeting, Sinovac on 3 May, For Possible Emergency Use Listing

    • 11:12

      Oman Registers 1,508 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:25

      Europe Administers 17 Mln COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in Latest Week, ECDC Says

    • 10:09

      Germany's Saxony to Purchase Batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine, Embassy Says

       Michael Kretschmer, the head of the German state of Saxony, announced on Thursday that the region would purchase a batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 when it is approved by the EU drug regulator, the German embassy said.

      "Saxony Minister President Kretschmer announced the planned purchase ... of Sputnik V after its approval by the European Medicines Agency," the German embassy in Moscow wrote on Twitter.

      Kretschmer is currently on a visit in Moscow, he held a meeting with Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko earlier in the day.

    • 10:02

      Afghanistan Reports 196 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 09:31

      Armenia Registers 881 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 09:30

      Thailand Says Russia Agrees to Supply Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

    • 09:01

      European Commission on Reports About Lawsuit Against AstraZeneca: We Look at All Options

      The European Commission is looking at all options to make AstraZeneca deliver on its commitments to supply COVID-19 vaccine doses to EU member states, commission spokesman Stefan De Keersmaecker told Sputnik on Thursday, commenting on media reports that there is a plan to launch legal proceedings against the producer.

      "On 19 March, and following approval by the Member States, the Commission launched the dispute resolution process on the basis of the Advance Purchase Agreement. What matters is that we ensure the delivery of a sufficient number of doses in line with the company’s earlier commitments. Together with the Member States, we are looking at all options to make this happen," De Keersmaecker said.

    • 08:54

      China to Donate 150,000 COVID Vaccine Doses to Moldova

      China will deliver 150,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Moldova as humanitarian help, Zinaida Greceanii, Moldova’s parliament speaker, said on Thursday.

      "I am happy to inform [you] that the People’s Republic of China has decided to provide Moldova with 150,000 vaccine doses against COVID as humanitarian help. The decision is confirmed by a letter directed to me by Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress," Greceanii wrote in a post on her Facebook page.

      She also expressed gratitude to China for its help to Moldovan people.

      Moldova started its mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 on 2 March and has reportedly inoculated about 100,000 people so far.

    • 08:51

      President of Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi Writes to PM Modi About Vaccine Policy

      “It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” Gandhi said.

    • 08:44

      Philippines Detects 8,767 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:31

      Russia Registers 8,996 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,996 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,271 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,736,121, the coronavirus response centre said on Thursday.

      "Over the past day, 8,996 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 1,190 cases (13.2 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase grew to 0.19 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 2,704 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, up from 1,988 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 682 new cases, down from 693 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 590 new cases, up from 586 on Wednesday.

      The response centre reported 397 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 399 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 107,103.

      Total recoveries increased by 8,934 over the given period, down from 9,644 the previous day, and reached 4,361,807 in total.

    • 07:47

      Japan to Impose State of Emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo on Friday, Reports Say

      Japan to Impose State of Emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo on Friday, Reports Suggest

      TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan’s government will declare a state of emergency in the prefectures of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo on Friday in a bid to halt a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, Japanese TV channel NHK reported.
      Read more
    • 07:07

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine May Get WHO Authorization in Summer, Deputy Foreign Minister Says

      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.

      Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine May Get WHO Authorization in Summer, Deputy Foreign Minister Says

      GENEVA (Sputnik) - Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 may receive the approval of the World Health Organization within several weeks after the WHO mission, scheduled to arrive in the country in May, completes its work, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said after a meeting with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom.
      Read more
    • 06:19

      Syria Gets 200,000 Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine Under COVAX Scheme, UN Officials Say

    • 05:46

      EU Preparing Legal Proceedings Against AstraZeneca Over COVID Vaccine Shortfalls

      The European Commission plans to launch legal proceedings against AstraZeneca because of its failure to deliver pledged coronavirus vaccine doses to EU countries, Politico reported, citing unnamed EU diplomats.

      According to Politico, the issue was raised at a Wednesday's meeting, and most of EU representatives said they would support the legal suit.

      One of the diplomats told Politico that the commission seeks to obligate the vaccine producer to eventually deliver the doses envisioned by the contract.

      Two other diplomats said that the deadline to sign off on launching the legal proceedings was set for later this week.

    • 05:36

      Ukraine Registers 16,235 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 04:53

      UK Coronavirus Strain Registered in Two Regions of Bolivia

      Bolivia's Ministry of Health has registered the presence of the UK variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in two regions of the country, Deputy Minister Maria Renee Castro said.

      “There is an important variety circulating in our country that exactly matches B1.1.7, a strain that is the British variant,” the official said during a press conference, fragments of which were posted on the ministry's Twitter.

      According to the ministry, the UK variant was identified in two departments of Bolivia. The genetic material was earlier sent for sequencing to Brazil.

      Castro said laboratory tests had revealed the presence of other types of the virus, which were currently being studied by experts.

      According to the authorities, since the beginning of the epidemic, 291,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Bolivia, with 12,695 deaths. A total of 38,600 people are currently sick.

    • 04:41

      Ecuador Reimposing State of Emergency Regime, Curfew Due to COVID-19

      Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has issued a state of emergency decree that envisions a night curfew in 16 out of 24 provinces due to a new wave of COVID-19.

      "Given the difficult epidemiological situation, today I signed Decree 1291 declaring a state of emergency in 16 provinces," Moreno said on Twitter.

      "The measures will be in effect from 20:00 on April 23 to 23:59 on 20 May," he said.

      According to the authorities, since the pandemic start, 362,000 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the country, including 12,795 deaths.

    • 04:23

      India Registers Record 314,835 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

      India has registered 314,835 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 on Thursday.

      The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 15,930,965, according to the ministry.

      Within the same period of time, the death toll has risen by 2,104 to 184,657 people. More than 13.45 million patients have recovered since the start of the epidemic.

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