03:26 GMT17 May 2021
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    The global coronavirus tally is now well over 151 million cases, with the death toll reaching 3.2 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University that tracks data on the pandemic.

    The US is currently the most-hit country, with over 32.4 million infected, while at least 577,000 Americans have passed away since the beginning of the pandemic. Next comes India, which is suffering from a major COVID-19 surge, with more than 19.5 million cases and 215,000 deaths, and then Brazil with over 14.7 million cases and around 407,000 deaths.

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    • 04:03

      Poland Starting to Lift Many of Its Coronavirus Restrictions

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - Due to the high number of detected COVID-19 cases, the Polish government announced a nationwide quarantine in March. A lockdown was introduced throughout the country. Shopping facilities were closed, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, bars, cafes and restaurants could only work for takeaway. Hotels and hostels were closed, gatherings of more than five people were banned, wearing masks became mandatory, including on the street. Educational institutions switched to remote learning.

      Having recorded a significant decrease in the incidence at the end of April, the authorities decided to gradually ease the epidemiological restrictions. From May 1, it will be possible to play sports in the open air and in closed facilities. From May 4, shopping centers, construction stores and other retail facilities will open. Also, from May 4, art galleries, museums and other cultural facilities will resume work.

      On May 15, restaurants and cafes will open, where visitors can only be served outdoors, and not indoors. Also from May 15, theaters and outdoor cinemas will open.

      Family events such as weddings will be allowed, but with a maximum of 25 people present. From May 15, students of grades 4-8 return to normal education, and all other schoolchildren - from May 29.

      In the spring, the number of coronavirus carriers detected daily increased sharply in Poland. At the beginning of April, 35,251 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the country per day, which was the highest figure since the beginning of the pandemic. Also in early April, a daily record of deaths was recorded - 954 patients with coronavirus died.

      In the last ten days, the incidence does not exceed 10,000 per day. On Monday, the minimum increase in coronavirus cases since February 1 was recorded - 2,525 people.

      The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Poland since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,805,756. The overall death toll in the country is 68,105.

    • 01:55

      Israel to Send Medical Aid to India to Fight COVID-19 - Foreign Minister

      TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israel will send medical aid to India to help the country address the difficult situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the country's Foreign Ministry said.

      "The provision of emergency assistance is an expression of deep friendship between the countries in difficult times for India," Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

      Israel will begin supplying medical equipment to India on Tuesday, including group and individual oxygen generators, respirators, medicines and other medical equipment, the ministry said.

      India in in the world's second place in terms of the number of detected cases of coronavirus. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, more than 20.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the country. More than 16.2 million people have recovered, 218,000 people have died of coronavirus and related diseases.

    • 23:19

      Sri Lanka Receives First Batch of Russia's Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sri Lanka has received the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, according to a statement in the official Twitter account of the vaccine.

      "The first batch of #SputnikV vaccine arrives in #SriLanka," the statement said.

      In early March, Sri Lanka's health authorities approved the emergency use of the Sputnik V vaccine.

    • 23:18

      US Regulator to Authorize Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for 12-15 Year Olds Next Week - Reports

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 to 15, The New York Times reported, citing federal officials.

      The authorization is expected to come early next week, the report said on Monday.

      Pfizer announced several weeks ago that none of the adolescents who have received the vaccine during trials have contracted a symptomatic case of COVID-19.

      However, plans to vaccinate teens and children, who rarely contract serious cases of the illness, have sparked debate, the report added, as many question whether excess US vaccines could be put to better use on adults in other countries.

    • 21:16

      Denmark Excludes Johnson & Johnson Shots From Vaccination Campaign

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Denmark excludes the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from its immunization program, as associated risks outweigh benefits, the Danish Health Authority said on Monday.

      The country’s government halted the use of the US-developed vaccine in mid-April pending an EU probe into reports of post-vaccination blood clots in people who received the shot.

      "The Danish Health Authority has concluded that the benefits of using the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson do not outweigh the risk of causing the possible adverse effect, VITT [Vaccine‐induced Immune Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis], in those who receive the vaccine. Therefore, the Danish Health Authority will continue the Danish mass vaccination programme against COVID-19 without the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson," the authority said in a statement.

      Besides the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Denmark has also abandoned the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to post-inoculation adverse effects.

      However, the authorities have allowed the population to choose one of these two vaccines voluntarily to make use of the doses the country still possesses. The measure is expected to come into force later in May.

      To date, Denmark has confirmed over 253,000 COVID-19 infections and nearly 2,500 related fatalities.

    • 20:25

      Pfizer Discusses Expedited COVID-19 Vaccine Approval With Indian Government - CEO

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that the company has been trying to register its coronavirus vaccine in India for several months and is currently discussing with the government an expedited approval procedure in the country.

      "Unfortunately, our [COVID-19] vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago," Bourla said. "We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country."

      Bourla also said that Pfizer has donated $70 million worth of medications to India, including steroids to reduce inflammation, anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting as well as antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections.

      India is currently facing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations with over 400,000 cases reported last Saturday alone.

    • 20:24

      Governor DeSantis Lifts All Remaining COVID-19-Related Restrictions in Florida

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that provides him the power to overrule local emergency COVID-19 orders and another one that immediately suspends all remaining pandemic-related restrictions.

      "I'm going to sign the bill. It's effective July 1," DeSantis told reporters. "I will also sign an executive order, pursuant to that bill, invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders, effective on July 1. To bridge the gap between then and now I'm gonna suspend under my executive power, the local emergency orders, as it relates to COVID-19."

      DeSantis also said that those who are talking about policing people do not actually have trust in the existing COVID-19 injections.

      Over the last week, Florida reported that nearly 34,000 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus with a total number of the cases exceeding 2.2 million since the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago.

    • 18:50

      Vaccinated French Can Receive Digital Health Pass Starting Monday

      French nationals who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus are eligible to receive a digital health pass starting Monday, France’s Health Insurance service said.

      "This certified vaccination certificate will include two visible electronic stamps: a Datamatrix (a kind of QR Code) authenticating the document via the 2D-DOC standard, used by the French administration to certify documents, and a QR Code allowing for the digitized certificate to be stored in the TousAntiCovid Carnet app", the agency said, as cited by BFM TV.

      The measure is deemed to be a new step in the implementation of the initiative to create a system of health passes, which will be required to travel and attend major public events starting 30 June.

      According to the insurance service, the purpose of the digital pass is to avoid forgery of certificates after travel resumes with other countries. Last week, President Emmanuel Macron said that the country would reopen to foreign tourists from June 9, as part of the countrywide lockdown exit plan.

      In March, the European Commission presented a proposal to create a "digital green certificate." The certificate is aimed at easing EU citizens’ movement within the bloc. In late March, European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is in charge of the vaccination program in the union, said that the certificate would be available by 15 June.

    • 16:51

      WHO Expects to Complete Safety Assessment of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine by July

      WHO Expects to Complete Safety Assessment of Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine by July

      GENEVA (Sputnik) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that it expects to give its safety assessment of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V in late June or in July.
      Read more
    • 15:29

      UK Reports 1,649 New Cases, 1 New Fatality

    • 14:26

      Kuwait Bans Foreign Travel for Non-Vaccinated Citizens From 22 May

    • 14:22

      Denmark Ditches Johnson&Johnson From Vaccination Programme

    • 13:57

      Philippine President Duterte Gets Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine

      "I feel good and I have been expecting this shot a long time ago", Duterte said in the video when asked about his well-being.

      According to Filipino lawmaker Bong Go, who posted a relevant video on Facebook, the inoculation with the Sinopharm vaccine took place at Malacanang Palace, the official presidential residence.

      Media report that while Sinopharm has yet to receive an emergency use authorization in the country, a compassionate special usage permit was previously granted to the presidential security detail.

    • 13:46

      Delhi Hit by Water Scarcity Amid Pandemic That Has Already Made Oxygen Scant

       Rickshaw drivers hold oxygen cylinders outside a private refilling station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in New Delhi, India, April 19, 2021

      Delhi Hit by Water Scarcity Amid Pandemic That Has Already Made Oxygen Scant

      On 14 April, vice chairman of the Delhi Jal (water) Board, Raghav Chadha, "beseeched intervention" of the chief of Haryana state, which neighbours Delhi, to help meet the water requirements of 22 million people in the city. The capital is dependent on Haryana to ensure the supply of clean and adequate water to meet the needs of the people.
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    • 13:10

      Bavaria Cancels Oktoberfest Again Over Coronavirus Uncertainty

      Bavaria will cancel Oktoberfest and other major folk festivals this year due to persisting coronavirus concerns, the German state’s premier announced Monday.

      "The situation is simply too uncertain. There are economic obligations that must be upheld … Incidence could rise any time and a later cancellation would be an economic loss", Markus Soeder said.

      He said holding Oktoberfest with numerous restrictions for millions of visitors from Germany and abroad was "practically impossible to organise", and any superspreading event could damage the brand.

      Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said the festival, which was due to take place from 18 September to 3 October, would be cancelled just for the 26th time. The fest Oktoberfest was first held in 1810. It was cancelled at the onset of the pandemic last year.

    • 13:09

      Vatican Museums Reopen for 3rd Time During COVID-19 Pandemic

    • 12:34

      After 'Escaping' to UK, India's Biggest Jab Manufacturer Blames PM Modi for Nation's Vaccine Crunch

      A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium March 18, 2021

      After 'Escaping' to UK, India's Biggest Jab Manufacturer Blames PM Modi for Nation's Vaccine Crunch

      The Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine, is one of two jab producing facilities in the country. The domestically-conceived Covaxin is being manufactured by another Indian company Bharat Biotech. A recent surge in COVID infections in India has resulted in supply outstripping the demand for jabs.
      Read more
    • 12:29

      Pfizer Plans to Modify COVID-19 Vaccine to Use It Without Dilution By Year-End - Reports

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Pfizer expects to develop an alternative "ready-to-use" version of its coronavirus vaccine that can be used without dilution and stored at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this year, the Axios news portal reported on Monday, citing Pfizer's vice president for global supply chain, Tanya Alcorn.

      The pharmaceutical company also announced plans to start distributing smaller packages of COVID-19 vaccine across the world from late May due to of fluctuating demand. Pfizer will decrease the number of doses from 1,170 to 450 to reduce potential waste, Axios said.

    • 12:20

      Serum Institute of India is Ramping Up Coronavirus Vaccine Production

      "Vaccine manufacturing is a specialised process, it is therefore not possible to ramp up production overnight. We also need to understand that the population of India is huge and to produce enough doses for all adults is not an easy task. Even the most advanced countries and companies are struggling in relatively smaller populations", Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said.

    • 11:43

      Indian Supreme Court Proposes National Lockdown to Control COVID Horror Amid PM Modi's Reluctance

      Supreme Court of India

      Indian Supreme Court Proposes National Lockdown to Control COVID Horror Amid PM Modi's Reluctance

      In a recent national address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that India was keeping a total lockdown as the last resort if the coronavirus situation spiralled further out of control in the country. It has become a matter of international concern that India's double mutant virus is multiplying rapidly, infecting over 300,000 Indians each day.
      Read more
    • 11:00

      UK Lawmakers Urge Gov’t to Discourage Foreign Holidays to Avoid New COVID-19 Wave

      "The UK government should discourage all international leisure travel to prevent the importation of new variants into the UK, in order to reduce the risk of a third wave and further lockdowns," the All-Party Parliament Group on coronavirus (APPG) said in a report.

    • 10:13

      Philippines Confirms 7,255 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 09:25

      'You Have to Be a Special Kind of Monster': B-Town Celebs Slam People Selling Fake COVID-19 Medicine

      A face mask lies on a road covered with colour powder during Holi celebrations, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Chennai, India, March 29, 2021.

      'You Have to Be a Special Kind of Monster': B-Town Celebs Slam People Selling Fake COVID-19 Medicine

      On Monday, India saw a slight dip in its daily COVID-19 cases, registering 368,147 infections and at least 3,417 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. At present, the nation's overall caseload is 19,925,604, with over 218,959 people having lost their lives since the onset of the pandemic.
      Read more
    • 09:20

      European Commission Proposes to Ease Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel Into EU

      "Today, the Commission is proposing that Member States ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU to take into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide," the commission said in a statement.

    • 08:10

      Russia Registers 8,489 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      "Over the past day, 8,489 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 82 Russian regions, including 1,173 cases (13.8%) without clinical symptoms", the coronavirus response centre said, adding that the rate of increase was at 0,18%.

    • 08:04

      India's Vaccination Drive for 18+ Hits a Roadblock Amidst Vaccine Shortage

    • 06:41

      Grammy-Winning Roxette Guitarist Arrested at Freedom Demo Against COVID-19 Restrictions - Video

      Demonstrators face police as they take part in a protest in Stockholm on March 6, 2021 against the measures taken by the Swedish government to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

      Grammy-Winning Roxette Guitarist Arrested at Freedom Demo Against COVID-19 Restrictions - Video

      Fifty-year-old Christoffer Lundquist, an established music producer, songwriter, and musician known for his work with the world-renowned group Roxette, joined the demonstration by the Freedom Movement to protest COVID-19 restrictions seen as limiting individual freedoms.
      Read more
    • 06:37

      Pfizer to Donate $70 Mln Worth of Medicines to India Amid Health Crisis

    • 05:54

      Germany Confirms 9,160 New Coronavrius Cases

    • 05:22

      Venezuelan President Confirms Fifth Shipment of Russian Sputnik V Vaccine Against COVID-19

      Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures during a state television address, in Caracas, Venezuela March 28, 2021.

      Venezuelan President Confirms Fifth Shipment of Russian Sputnik V Vaccine Against COVID-19

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says his country has received yet another delivery of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
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