05:06 GMT16 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (330)
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    The death toll from the coronavirus infection in the world has topped 3.161 million, over 150.1 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 (32.2 million infected, 575,000 deaths), India (18 million cases, 204,000 fatalities), and Brazil (14.5 million cases and a death toll of over 401,000).

    More than 40 countries have pledged to assist India in the fight against the current wave of coronavirus as New Delhi expects to receive oxygen generation equipment and medicine.

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    • 22:30

      Canada to Withhold J&J Vaccine Amid Probe Into US Manufacturing Facility

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canada will withhold the coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals from public use amid an investigation into quality control issues at a US vaccine manufacturing plant where they were produced, Health Canada said.

      Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson admitted to having produced a faulty batch of coronavirus vaccines at an East Baltimore facility, reportedly due to a mix-up of two ingredients that led to the ruining of about 15 million doses. Canada had received its first shipment of 300,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses - manufactured at the same East Baltimore Emergent BioSolutions facility currently under investigation - earlier in the week.

      “As with all vaccines imported into Canada, the Janssen vaccines will only be released for distribution once Health Canada is satisfied that they meet the Department's high standards for quality, safety and efficacy,” Canada’s health regulator said in a statement on Friday.

    • 21:04

      US Extends Face Mask Mandate for Public Transportation Until September 13

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Transportation Security Administration said on Friday that it has extended the face mask mandate for public transportation until September 13.

      "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through September 13," the release said.

      The release also underscored that in spite of the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for fully vaccinated people announced in April, CDC still requires all individuals to wear a face mask during public transportation.

    • 20:35

      Colombia Awaits Russia's Request for Sputnik V Emergency Use Approval, Minister Says

      BOGOTA (Sputnik) - The Colombian government is expecting Russia's request of an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, as the procedure has already been clarified to the Russian side, Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection Fernando Ruiz said on Friday.

      "We expect that they will request an emergency use authorization ... the procedure was explained to them," Ruiz said in a statement released by the ministry.

      The sides have already had several discussions on the matter, but the Colombian drug regulator Invima has still not received Moscow's request, the minister said.

    • 20:22

      WHO Says Lists Moderna Vaccine as Recommended for Emergency Use

    • 20:01

      New COVID-19 Variants Make Up Majority of New Cases in Canada, Top Health Official Says

      TORONTO (Sputnik) – Variants of the coronavirus disease now make up the majority of new cases in Canada, the country’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said on Friday.

      “Variants of concern now represent the majority of reported COVID-19 cases,” Tam said during a press briefing.

      The vast majority of variant cases – 95 percent – are of the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, Tam said.

      The variants have also spurred an intensifying third wave of the pandemic across Canada, with the federal government moving to approve several requests for help from different jurisdictions.

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters during the same briefing that his government is deploying 60 military service members to Nova Scotia, which is reporting a surge in new COVID-19 cases, to help at testing centers.

      The federal government also approved requests for support in long-term care facilities in New Brunswick and for more equipment in the territory in Nunavut.

    • 19:16

      Estonia Cancels Quarantine for Arrivals From Seven European Nations Starting May 3

      HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Estonia is further easing coronavirus-related restrictions on cross-border movement, allowing arrivals from seven European countries with low COVID-19 rates to skip the mandatory 10-day quarantine starting from May 3, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

      "[Starting May 3,] The restriction on the freedom of movement does not apply to passengers arriving from a country with an infection rate below 150 per 100 000 inhabitants in the past 14 days: Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom," the ministry said in a press release.

      People arriving from other European countries will still need to undergo a quarantine, the ministry said, noting that the entry restriction also applies to passengers from the Vatican, where the infection rate is zero, as they will travel to Estonia through Italy.

      The quarantine is not mandatory for those individuals who "have suffered from COVID-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured; have undergone COVID-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion," the ministry said.

      As for the arrivals from non-European countries, non-essential trips to Estonia are allowed from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand, with passengers from the last two countries being subject to mandatory quarantine.

    • 19:11

      Biden Administration to Restrict Travel From India Starting May 4, White House Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – President Joe Biden's administration will restrict travel from India starting May 4 due to the ongoing COVID-19 surge in the country, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.

      "On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately," Psaki said in a statement. "The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4."

      The ban will not apply to American citizens or lawful permanent residents and remains unknown how long restrictions will last in view of the COVID-19 situation in India, CNN reported.

    • 18:18

      Russian Vaccines Protect From All Known Strains of COVID-19, Rospotrebnadzor Says

      Russia Coronavirus Vaccination

      Russian Vaccines Protect From All Known Strains of COVID-19, Rospotrebnadzor Says

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The immunity developed after Russian vaccines currently protects from all strains of coronavirus, the head of consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 17:48

      India to Secure Medical Supplies From China, Keep Transport Channels Open, Indian Foreign Minister Says

    • 17:47

      Estonia Receives $140Mln From EU Lender in COVID-19 Economic Support, European Investment Bank Says

    • 17:26

      Disneyland Reopens in California After 13-Month Closure

    • 17:07

      Albania Approves Use of Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V

      Albania Approves Use of Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Albania has approved the use of Sputnik V, a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on Friday, adding that the Balkan country has already received its first shipment.
      Read more
    • 16:03

      IOM Seeks $87Mln to Help Migrants Impacted by COVID-19 in East, Horn of Africa

      The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday made an appeal to donors for $87 million that will enable it to support vulnerable migrants and host communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic throughout the East and the Horn of Africa.

    • 15:19

      White House COVID Response Coordinator Says 100Mln People Fully Vaccinated Against Virus in US

    • 15:03

      Erdogan Says Turkey Has No Problem With COVID-19 Vaccine Supply

    • 15:02

      UK Records 2,381 COVID Cases Over Past 24 Hours, 15 Virus-Related Deaths

    • 14:35

      First Dose of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Doesn't Ensure Protection Against New Variants, UK Study Shows

    • 14:05

      Brazil to Ink Deal for 100Mln Pfizer Doses, Expects 100% Vaccination Rate by Year-End

    • 13:58

      South Korean Regulator Launches Review of Plasma Therapy Treatment Against COVID-19, Reports Say

      The South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has started reviewing an application for conditional authorization for a plasma therapy treatment against the coronavirus submitted by local biotechnology company GC Pharma, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday.

      The treatment, dubbed GC5131A, suggests using blood plasma from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19. If approved, the investigative hyperimmune globulin drug will mark South Korea's first blood plasma cure for the deadly disease and the second homegrown treatment against the virus.

      The treatment candidate is expected to be available at hospitals immediately upon receiving conditional approval, as the biotech company has already completed the production of the drug's third batch, the news agency added.

      In early February, the South Korean regulator granted a conditional marketing authorization to the first homegrown plasma COVID-19 drug. The monoclonal antibody treatment, CT-P59, developed by Celltrion, is allowed for high-risk coronavirus patients, including people over 60 years old and those with underlying health conditions.

    • 13:47

      Oman Reports 927 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 13:40

      Brazilian Health Minister Says Sure Medicines Regulator Can Resist Pressure Over Sputnik V

      Brazilian medical regulator Anvisa is certain to be able to withstand external and internal pressures, which are linked to the assessment of a coronavirus vaccine, Marcelo Queiroga, Brazilian health minister, said Friday, following Anvisa's rejection of Russia's Sputnik V.

      "The regulatory authority Anvisa is made up of technical experts and it can resist these external pressures and internal pressures, pressures which are normal in a democratic state, particularly when we are facing a pandemic such as this one," Queiroga said at a WHO press briefing.

      "[Brazilian President] Mr Jair Bolsonaro has spoken with [Russian President] Mr Vladimir Putin and with China, they are nations that we are friendly with, and as soon as they approved, we can include them in our immunization program," Queiroga added.

      Anvisa's Collegiate Board on Tuesday unanimously rejected a regional government request to import the Russian-made vaccine. The Russian Direct Investment Fund said it believes the decision may be "politically motivated," citing a US Department of Health report that the United States had attempted to persuade Brazil not to use Sputnik V.

    • 13:16

      Switzerland Detects 1,831 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:43

      French Vaccine Enthusiasm Rises to 69%, Poll Shows

      Seven in ten people in France want to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus or already have, an Odoxa poll published Friday showed.

      The pollster said 69% of 3,005 adults surveyed from13-19 April were pro-vaccine, up 20 percentage points from November. Only 15% were categorically opposed to the idea.

      The most densely populated regions of Ile-de-France around Paris and the French Riviera in the southeast were the most pro-vaccine (78% and 75%). They also have the highest share of senior citizens.

      On the other hand, people living further north were the most vaccine-skeptic. Only 64% in Hauts-de-France and Normandy, regions with some of the youngest populations in France, said they wanted to be vaccinated.

    • 12:38

      Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine Applies for EU Approval of Use in Adolescents Aged 12-15

      Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday to expand emergency use authorization of their vaccine among minors aged from 12-15.

      "Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced they have submitted a variation to the Conditional Marketing Authorization in the European Union to the European Medicines Agency for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine COMIRNATY® to request an extension of the indication for use in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age," BioNTech said in a press release.

      If the EU regulator approves the variation, the vaccine will be scheduled for use in this age group in all 27 member states.

      The US-German pharmaceutical duo submitted a similar application to the US Food and Drug Administration, with plans to request additional amendments with other regulatory authorities across the world.

      In late March, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine demonstrated nearly 100% efficacy during trials in adolescents aged from 12-15, with robust immune responses exceeding results of earlier trials of participants aged from 16-25.

    • 12:35

      Turkish Health Ministry Authorises Use of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

      Sputnik V vaccine

      Turkish Health Ministry Authorizes Use of Sputnik V Vaccine, Health Minister Says

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - The Turkish Health Ministry has authorized the use of Sputnik V, a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, in the country, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday.
      Read more
    • 11:35

      Bangladesh Records 2,177 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:26

      Chinese President Xi Offers India Support in Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

      Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express readiness to provide assistance to India, where coronavirus cases are growing dramatically.

      "The Chinese side is ready to strengthen cooperation with India in the fight against the epidemics and to provide support and assistance to the Indian side," Xi's letter, released by Xinhua news agency, read.

      The Chinese leader reportedly expressed concerns over the degrading epidemiological situation in India and extended the Chinese government's words of support for the Indian people.

    • 10:49

      Thailand Reports 1,583 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 09:46

      Delhi Governor Anil Baijal Tests Positive for COVID-19

    • 09:31

      Germany May Ease Coronavirus Restrictions for Those Vaccinated, Reports Say

      The German justice ministry has drawn up a list of coronavirus restrictions that may be eased for those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered, media said.

      A draft seen by the ARD broadcaster suggests that vaccinated people should be allowed to stay outside at night, have test-free access to close-contact services and gather an unlimited number of friends at home.

      Ministries are looking into the proposal, which does not abolish distancing and mask wearing in public places. The motion may reportedly go before the cabinet and parliament as early as next week.

    • 09:00

      COVID-19 Vaccine Developer AstraZeneca’s Net Profits Double in Q1 of 2021

      The UK-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca reported on Friday that its net profit doubled in the first quarter of 2021, with the COVID-19 vaccine developed with University of Oxford contributing $275 million to the $7.32 billion revenue growth during the period.

      According to the earnings statement, the company’s net profit reached $1.56 billion between January and March, compared to $780 million last year.

      "We delivered solid progress in the first quarter of 2021 and continued to advance our portfolio of life-changing medicines," Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, was quoted as saying.

      Soriot said that the sales of new cancer drugs contributed over half of the 15 percent "robust" revenue growth delivered during the period.

      The pharmaceutical company also said it has delivered over 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries through COVAX, the multilateral facility led by the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization and other organizations to help low- and middle-income counties to have access to the jabs.

      The earnings statement comes as the company is facing troubles with its flagship coronavirus vaccine due to the blood-clotting side effects, including fatal cases, which have prompted several countries to suspend its use or restrict the shot to elderly people mostly those over 60s.

      However, both the United Kingdom and the European Union medicines regulators have recommended to continue using the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, saying that the blood clots associated to the vaccine are rare and that the benefits outweigh the risks.

    • 08:38

      Estonia Reports 362 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 08:37

      Poland Detects 6,796 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:00

      Russia Registers 8,731 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,731 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 9,284 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,805,288, the coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

      "Over the past day, 8,731 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 82 Russian regions, including 1,251 cases (14.3 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase fell to 0.18 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 2,662 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, down from 3,215 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 725 new cases, up from 716 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 651 new cases, up from 632 on Thursday.

      No new cases were recorded in the Nenets Autonomous Region, the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region.

      The response center reported 397 COVID-19 fatalities, up from 364 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 110,128.

      Total recoveries increased by 8,406 over the given period, down from 8,442 the previous day, and reached 4,427,946 in total.

    • 07:52

      Japanese Government to Allocate Additional $4.6Bln for Fight Against COVID-19, Reports Say

      The Japanese government has decided to allocate additional 500 billion yen ($4.6 billion) on measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, media reported on Friday.

      According to the Japanese NHK broadcaster, the money will be spent to support regions that have declared state of emergency and enterprises seriously affected by the pandemic. The previous 11.5 trillion yen ($106.4 billion) bailout package, allocated last year, has already been spent.

      The broadcaster notes that this is the first targeted aid package that the government is providing in the current fiscal year that started on 1 April.

    • 07:09

      Honda Halts Production at 4 Plants in India to Redirect Oxygen for Medical Use, Reports Say

       Japan's car manufacturer Honda Motor Co. will suspend motorbike production at its four plants in India to free up oxygen needed for medical use amid the COVID-19 crisis in the country, media reported on Friday.

      According to Japanese Kyodo news agency, the plants in Haryana and Rajastan will suspend operations from 1 to 15 May. The company has decided to divert oxygen used in the car manufacturing process to Indian hospitals facing shortages of medical oxygen over growing number of coronavirus patients.

      On Thursday, another Japanese car manufacturer, Suzuki Motor Co. decided to halt three plants in India.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases following the United States and registers currently nearly 400,000 new ones per day. The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 18,762,976. More than 208,000 people have already died of the disease in the country.

    • 07:04

      Russia Released 1st Batch of Carnivac-Cov COVID-19 Vaccine for Animals

      Russia's Federal Center for Animal Health, which is subordinate to veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, released the first batch of Russia's Carnivac-Cov vaccine against COVID-19 for animals in the amount of 17,000 doses, an adviser to Rosselkhoznadzor chief announced on Friday.

      Russia registered Carnivac-Cov, the world's first coronavirus vaccine for animals, late last month.

      "The Federal Center for Animal Health, which is subordinate to Rosselkhoznadzor, produced the first batch of the Carnivac-Cov vaccine for preventing the novel coronavirus infection in animals in the amount of 17,000 doses," Yulia Melano told reporters.

      According to the official, the vaccine doses have already been booked and will be soon distributed to Russia's cities and regions.

    • 07:02

      Indonesia Approves Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use

    • 06:43

      Global COVID-19 Case Count Surpasses 150 Million

    • 06:29

      Ukraine Bans Foreigners Arriving From India From 2 May, Deputy Health Minister Says

    • 06:23

      India's Worst-Hit State Maharashtra Expects 3rd COVID-19 Wave in July or August

      The top health official in Maharashtra, the Indian state worst affected by COVID-19, says a third wave of the pandemic could arrive there as early as July.

      "As per epidemiologists, Maharashtra could witness a third wave of COVID-19 in July or August," Rajesh Tope told reporters late on Thursday.

      The western state recorded 66,159 new coronavirus cases on Thursday. India has been struggling to contain the explosive spread of the virus, which has collapsed the national health system, causing severe shortages of oxygen and medicines.

      Tope said the state administration was trying to have enough oxygen available when the third wave strikes. Health experts expect the second wave to level off by the end of May.

      Separately, the governing body in Maharashtra’s main city of Mumbai has announced a three-day halt of vaccine rollout starting Friday after running out of stock. This comes as India prepares to begin mass vaccination on Saturday.

    • 06:00

      Indian Mutant Variant of COVID-19 Detected in France, Authorities Say

      France's southwestern region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine has registered the first case of the Indian mutant variant of COVID-19,  a regional health agency director said.

      "We have determined that this is the Indian variant," the head of the regional health department, Benoit Elleboode said as quoted by BFMTV broadcaster.

      According to him, the patient has recently returned from India.

      The double mutant strain, called B.1.617, was detected in India in March. Earlier in April, a number of countries, including Germany, Iran and Canada, announced temporary limitations on the passenger traffic with India after a new variant of the coronavirus with triple mutation — variant B.1.618 — had been discovered in the West Bengal state.

    • 05:35

      Ukraine Registers 10,072 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:35

      New Easing Measures to Take Effect on Saturday, Hungarian PM Orban Says

    • 04:56

      Japan to Provide India With Aid to Fight Unprecedented COVID-19 Outbreak, Foreign Ministry Says

      Japan will send humanitarian aid, including oxygen concentrators and lung ventilators, to India that is currently suffering from an unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

      “In response to a request from the Indian government amid the sharp rise in the number of infections, the Japanese government has launched a procedure to provide this country with 300 oxygen concentrators and 300 lung ventilators. Our country finds it necessary to provide emergency aid to India – a friendly nation and our partner – to help it fight with the coronavirus. We will consider further emergency measures to help India,” the ministry said in a statement.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases following the United States and registers currently more than 300,000 new ones per day.

      More than 208,000 people have already died of the coronavirus in India.

    • 04:22

      India Registers Record 386,452 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

      India has registered 386,452 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 Friday.

      The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 18,762,976, according to the ministry.

      Within the same period of time, the death toll has risen by 3,498 to 208,330 people. More than 15.38 million patients have recovered since the start of the epidemic.

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