03:50 GMT17 May 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (330)

    The death toll from the global coronavirus infection has topped 3.176 million; over 150.9 million cases of the infection have ben 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 US is still the most-affected nation amid the pandemic; there, over 32.3 million have been infected, and the death toll exceeds 575,000. Next is India, with over 18.7 million confirmed cases and more than 208,000 deaths, followed by Brazil, with 14.6 million confirmed cases and over 403,000 fatalities.

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    • 00:26

      Jordan Reports Three Cases of Indian Coronavirus Strain

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Jordan now has three confirmed cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19, according to the country’s Health Minister Feras Al Hawari.

      "Two cases were registered in Amman and one in Zarqa in people who did not travel," Al Hawari said as quoted by Al-Mamlaka TV.

      According to Jordan’s Health Ministry, the country has more than 712,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the COVID-19 death toll stands at over 8,870.

    • 13:28

      Saudi Arabia Detects 1,048 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 13:27

      COVID-19 Infections in Thailand on Rise After Months-Long Respite

       The coronavirus tally has begun to climb again in Thailand, with the death toll hitting a record high after months of no reported fatalities at all, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the country's coronavirus response center, said on Saturday.

      Thailand confirmed 1,891 new coronavirus cases and 21 fatalities on Saturday, bringing the country's total tallies to 67,044 and 224, respectively.

      During a fresh outbreak that began in early April, daily COVID-19 cases have grown from 26 to some 1,400, with the highest increase of over 2,800 infections recorded on 24 April. At the same time, the death toll has risen from zero to 21, the official told reporters.

      Most infections and fatalities are still registered in the capital of Bangkok, with 739 cases and 10 deaths confirmed on Saturday.

      Thailand's mass vaccination campaign has so far reached nearly 1.1 million citizens, mainly medical staff and seniors.

      As part of measures to fight the pandemic, the government also tightened coronavirus-related restrictions starting Saturday. Among other things, the country brought back the quarantine for arrivals, as well as introduced a ban on leaving the areas with high infection rates. The authorities also decided to switch all education facilities, state agencies and some businesses to distance format, 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.

    • 13:23

      German State to Ease Coronavirus Rules for Vaccinated Starting Monday

      The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia will ease coronavirus curbs for vaccinated and recovered patients starting Monday as the federal government mulls a new nationwide strategy.

      "Equating vaccinated and recovered people with those who tested negative is the first step," Armin Laschet, the state’s premier said.

      The justice ministry has proposed lifting curbs on close-contact services and access to some public venues for fully vaccinated and recovered people. A decision is expected as early as next week.

      "A decision on whether the vaccinated and recovered should have constitutional rights back that have not been restored for those who tested negative will be taken together with the federal government and other states," Laschet said.

      The premier stressed that risk posed by vaccinated and recovered people was not higher than by those who have a negative coronavirus test.

    • 12:53

      Ukraine Inks Deal for Another 10Mln Pfizer Vaccine Doses, Health Minister Says

      Ukraine signed a contract for additional 10 million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, expected to be shipped in 2021, the country's Health Minister Maxym Stepanov announced on Saturday.

      "After long and difficult negotiations with Pfizer, we have reached an agreement on the shipment of additional 10 million doses. We signed the contract overnight. In total, we will receive 20 million (to be exact, 20.115 million) doses of the Pfizer vaccine during this calendar year," Stepanov posted on Facebook.

      According to the minister, the negotiations with the US vaccine manufacturer began last August and finally showed progress after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held personal talks with the company CEO Albert Bourla. Zelenskyy inked the deal for 10 million Pfizer shots, with the first deliveries expected to start over the next few weeks.

      Ukraine will receive shipments of the first 500 thousand doses in May-June, another 4.5 million doses in July-September, and the remaining 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of this year.

      Stepanov stressed that the government expects to immunize 70% of the population by year-end.

      The first plane carrying a batch of 117,000 doses of Pfizer arrived in Ukraine on April 16 as part of the COVAX vaccine-sharing mechanism.

    • 12:48

      New Delhi Extends COVID-19 Lockdown By Week

    • 12:16

      Indian Ministry of External Affairs Says It's Received 150,000 Sputnik V Vaccine Jabs From Russia

      The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 was delivered on Saturday to India's Hyderabad city
      Russian Embassy in India
      The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 was delivered on Saturday to India's Hyderabad city
      Russian Embassy in India
    • 11:24

      UK Care Home Residents Will No Longer Need to Self Isolate Upon Return

      Care home residents in the United Kingdom will no longer need to self isolate for two weeks after coming back from any outside visit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday.

      "We know how challenging this time has been for care home residents, so I am pleased that they can now leave their homes to reunite with their loved ones outdoors," he said in a written statement.

      The new rule comes after legal action has been launched by John's Campaign, a campaign group which advocates for the right of people with dementia to be supported by their family carers anywhere they are.

      "We'll save the celebrations until we see the detail - and feel convinced that there is any legal right to behave in such a way. Which there isn't," the campaign group said on Twitter after the news broke out on Saturday.

      At the start of April, the UK government imposed strict COVID-19 restrictions on care home residents requiring anyone making visits outside of care homes to relatives or outdoor space's to self isolate for 14 days upon their return. The restrictions were faced with a lot of scrutiny from campaign groups.

      Under the new rules starting on Tuesday, all care home residents will be able "to participate in more out-of-home visits without having to isolate on their return", the government said in the statement.

      "I know residents and their families have found the restrictions on trips out of care homes incredibly difficult. This is one more step towards getting back to normal, while protecting care homes from the continued risk of COVID-19," Minister for Care Helen Whately added.

    • 11:23

      Philippines Receives 1st Batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine, Reports Say

      The first 15,000 doses of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V arrived in the Philippines on Saturday, national media reported, citing a senior official.

      The Southeast Asian country was initially set to receive the first batch of the Russian vaccine on Thursday but the shipment was delayed due to logistical issues.

      The vaccines were delivered via a Qatar Airways flight and arrived at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 03:50 local time (07:50 GMT), the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper reported, citing Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje.

    • 10:59

      Latvia Registers 812 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:58

      First Batch of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Delivered to India

      The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 was delivered on Saturday to India's Hyderabad city
      Russian Embassy in India
      The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 was delivered on Saturday to India's Hyderabad city
      Russian Embassy in India

      India Finally Gets Sputnik V Vaccine, Russian Envoy Vouches for its Efficacy Against ‘Indian’ Strain

      Sputnik V, which has demonstrated over 91.6 percent efficacy, has so far been approved in 64 countries across the world. In India, the Russian vaccine had been undergoing clinical trials between September last year and March, and was finally approved for usage by New Delhi in April. Sputnik V will be the third COVID jab to be rolled out in India.
      Read more
    • 10:23

      Romania Reports 1,307 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 09:34

      Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Discharged From Hospital, Reports Say

    • 08:47

      Australia Bans Travel From India on Pain of Fines, Jail Time, Health Minister Says

      Australian citizens who are stuck in India and wish to return back home are at risk of facing fines of up to 66,000 Australian dollars (approximately $50,964) as Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says a travel ban will be put in place starting Monday.

      "The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India," Hunt said as quoted by 9News.

      The penalties are put into effect under the Biosecurity Act that will also stop people coming into the country from India via other destinations such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

      "Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years' imprisonment, or both," Hunt added.

      The new restrictions come into force after two people have arrived into Australia from India via Doha. Over 9,000 Australians are currently stuck in India waiting to get a flight back home.

      Hunt said the Federal Government has made it their top priority to bring Australians stranded in India back home with the organisation of repatriation flights.

      "We have to be able to continue to do two things – protect Australia and bring Australians home," he added as quoted by the TV network.

      The travel ban will be in place until 15 May, after which repatriation and commercial flights will resume. The Health Minister added that the temporary ban in travel has helped ease some pressure off of the quarantine system.

    • 08:39

      Estonia Detects 408 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:01

      Russia Registers 9,270 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

       Russia registered 9,270 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,731 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,814,558, the coronavirus response centre said on Saturday.

      "Over the past day, 9,270 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 1,318 cases (14.2 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

      The rate of increase grew to 0,19 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 3,208 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, down from 2,662 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 737 new cases, up from 725 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 649 new cases, down from 651 on Friday.

      The response centre reported 392 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 397 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 110,520.

      Total recoveries increased by 8,637 over the given period, up from 8,406 the previous day, and reached 4,436,583 in total.

    • 05:54

      India Extends Ban on All International Passenger Flights Until 31 May Over COVID-19

      The Indian government has decided to extend the suspension of all international passenger flights from and to India until 1 May over surging COVID-19 crisis, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India said.

      "In partial modification of circular dated 16-06-2020, the competent authority has further extended the validity of circular issued on the subject cited above regarding scheduled international commercial passenger services to/from India till 2359 hrs IST 21 May 2021. The restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA," DGCA said in a statement.

      According to the statement, , international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case by case basis.

      The suspension was first put in place in March 2020 due to spread of COVID-19 in the country. On 23 March, the aviation regulator had already extended the suspension for another month, set to expire on 30 April.

    • 05:35

      Ukraine Reports 8,549 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:29

      India Registers Record 401,993 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

      India has registered 401,993 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 Saturday.

      The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 19,164,969, according to the ministry.

      Within the same period of time, the death toll has risen by 3,523 to 211,853 people. More than 15.68 million patients have recovered since the start of the epidemic.

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