16:29 GMT21 June 2021
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 3.2 million; over 154.7 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.

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    • 02:12

      Mexican Delegation to Visit Moscow to Discuss Production of Sputnik V Vaccine – Official

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – A delegation of Mexican experts led by the head of the Mexican laboratory for biological agents and reagents Birmex, Pedro Zenteno Santaella, will visit Moscow to study technologies for producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

      The Latin American nation authorized the emergency use of Sputnik V on February 2, while the first batch of the drug arrived there on February 22.

      “Doctor Santaella has just got a permit from the president to carry out and head this mission,” Lopez-Gatell said at a press conference on late Thursday.

      He noted that the invitation for Santaella to visit Moscow had been sent by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on May 6. According to Lopez-Gatell, the visit will provide Mexican experts with the knowledge necessary for the production of Sputnik V.

      Mexico has registered more than 2.35 million COVID-19 cases so far, with over 218,000 fatalities.

    • 23:05

      Over 41% of Adult Canadians Have Received at Least One Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine - Official

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - More than two-fifths of Canadian have received their first dose of available coronavirus vaccines, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.

      "As of today, more than 14.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Canada," Njoo said on Thursday. "As of last Saturday, more than 41 percent of the adult population in Canada has received one dose of the vaccine."

      The vast majority of Canadians older than 80 have received their first dose, while 16 percent are now fully vaccinated, Njoo said. Among those between the age 70 and 80, 86 percent have received their first dose and five percent have received both doses.

      Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite a much-maligned vaccine rollout which currently leaves Canada lagging behind other industrialized countries by most metrics, has vowed that the country’s vaccination campaign will be complete by September.

    • 22:20

      Canada Records 11 Blood Clot Cases After AstraZeneca Jab, Death Toll Rises to 3 - Official

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian health officials have recorded 11 blood clot cases following immunization with the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, while the death has climbed to three, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.

      The Canadian province of Quebec recorded the country’s first death following immunization with the AstraZeneca shot on April 27, with a 54-year-old woman, who in spite of medical treatment succumbed to the deadly side effect. Since then, a woman in her fifties from Alberta and individual in their 60s from New Brunswick have also died, according to provincial health officials.

      “As of May 6, there have been 11 cases of blood clots with low platelets following the receipt of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, reported to the federal level,” Njoo told reporters on Thursday. “Sadly, two additional people from Alberta and New Brunswick, following the initial death reported in Quebec, have passed away.”

      Health Canada had temporarily paused inoculation for Canadians under the age of 55 with the AstraZeneca vaccine following a recommendation from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunizations. The immunization drive has since resumed among those over 30 eligible to receive it.

      Last month, a Canadian safety review of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine concluded that blood clotting events are possibly linked to it. As a result of the review, Canadian health officials introduced a warning section indicating the "stronger link" between the blood clotting events and the AstraZeneca vaccine on the safety label.

      The controversy surrounding the UK drugmaker’s vaccine has undermined confidence in the shot, with the latest polling numbers showing that only 52 percent of Canadians are comfortable receiving the AstraZeneca inoculation and 40 percent of this group would reject it if offered.


    • 22:19

      US Committed to Support India Amid COVID-19 Surge, Address Other Challenges - Pentagon

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States remains committed to support India in overcoming COVID-19 surge and both countries are ready to address other common challenges, Defense Department Deputy Press Secretary Jamal Brown said.

      "Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin H. Kahl spoke with Indian Defense Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar by phone today. Dr. Kahl underscored the United States’ commitment to support the people of India as they battle a surge in COVID-19 cases," Brown said in a release on Thursday. "They [Dr. Kahl and Dr. Kumar] reiterated their commitment to working closely with like-minded countries - including Quadrilateral partners - to address the defining challenges of our time."

      The two officials have also underscored that the bonds between the two nations have only deepened in times of crisis, the release said.

      Dr. Kahl has also assured his Indian counterpart that the US Defense Department will continue to stand by India in its moment of need and support US assistance efforts in the days and weeks ahead, the release added.

      India is experiencing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations with over 412,000 cases reported on Thursday.

    • 21:46

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Brazil Surpasses 15 Million – Ministry of Health

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Brazil has increased by 73,380  within the past 24 hours and reached 15,003,563, the Ministry of Health said.

      The death toll has risen by 2,550 to 416,949 within the same period of time, according to the ministry.

      More than 13.59 million people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

      A day earlier, the country confirmed 73,295 new coronavirus cases and 2,811 fatalities.

      Brazil comes third in terms of the number of cases after the United States and India, as well as second in terms of the deceased people following the US.

    • 21:01

      US Charges Hedge-Fund Manager With $3.8Mln COVID-19 Relief Fraud - Justice Dept.

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The owner of a New York City hedge-fund management firm faces multiple charges of wire fraud and money laundering for receiving nearly $4 million from the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) using bogus applications, the US Justice Department said on Thursday.

      “[Gregory] Blotnick submitted eight falsified loan applications to numerous lenders on behalf of five of Blotnick’s businesses, including his New York City-based hedge fund management firm, Brattle Street Capital LLC and related entities,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

      To obtain the PPP loans, Blotnick submitted false information, including the number of his employees, federal tax returns for his businesses, and his payroll documentation, and he certified that he would use the loan money only for business-related purposes, the release said.

      Blotnick transferred the funds to brokerage accounts, losing more than $3 million in stock trades, the release added.

      Blotnick is charged with eight counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering, with an initial court appearance scheduled May 19, according to the release.

    • 20:23

      Spain Considers Vaccine Patent Waiver Good, But Insufficient Measure

      MADRID (Sputnik) - Spain on Thursday supported the proposal to suspend intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines, but expressed concern that the measure might be insufficient and called for an increased global efforts in increasing vaccine production and technology sharing.

      "Waiver [of patents] alone is not enough to provide access to developing countries. Approval may take some time, so, meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies must be flexible and speed up the issuance of licenses," the Spanish government said in a statement.

      At the same time, according to the Spanish authorities, it is also "necessary to boost knowledge and technology transfer, increase the overall production of vaccines and accelerate their distribution globally."

      Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is set to announce the country's vaccine proposal at the EU Social Summit in Porto, scheduled for May 7-8.

      Washington stated earlier in the week that it supports waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and pledged to negotiate the issue within the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. Russia and China also expressed willingness to back the patent waiver.

      However, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) called the US decision "disappointing," stating that the waiver, in their opinion, will neither help increase production nor provide practical solutions to a complex issue of vaccine inequity.

    • 18:21

      Pfizer, Moderna Jabs 94% Effective at Keeping US Seniors Out of Hospitals, Health Dept. Says

      Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have proven 94 percent effective in preventing hospitalization of patients aged 65 and older, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.

      "Effectiveness was 94% among adults who were fully vaccinated and 64% among adults who were partially vaccinated," a CDC report said.

      The study based its findings on data from 417 patients at least 65-years-old who were hospitalized during the first three months of 2021 - 187 with COVID-19 and 230 who were virus-free. Among the infected patients, 18 were partially vaccinated and one was fully vaccinated.

      The 3-month examination of data drew from 24 hospitals in 14 states.

      Researchers relied on a mathematical probability model based on the likelihood of a hospitalized COVID-19 patient having been vaccinated to extrapolate estimates of vaccine effectiveness in preventing hospitalization, according to the report.

    • 15:12

      India, EU to Discuss COVID-19 Response, Health Cooperation

      The upcoming meeting of leaders of India and the European Union will be focused on COVID-19 and health care cooperation as well as the strengthening of bilateral relations, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

      European Council President Charles Michel invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Port-hosted meeting of the Council on Saturday.

      "The leaders will exchange views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation; fostering sustainable and inclusive growth; strengthening the India-EU economic partnership as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest," the ministry said.

      Modi will attend the second-ever EU+27 meeting alongside leaders of the 27 EU member states. The previous event in this format was held this March with US President Joe Biden.

      According to the statement, the meeting will offer "an unprecedented opportunity" for discussion with all European leaders and will help strengthen relations as envisioned at the 15th India-EU Summit last July.

      The European Union is also expected to be represented by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.

    • 14:57

      Pfizer, BioNTech to Donate Vaccines to Participants of Tokyo Olympics, IOC Says

      Pfizer and BioNTech pharma companies will provide COVID-19 vaccines to participants of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Thursday.

      The IOC said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with both firms on the shipment of their coronavirus vaccine to members of National Olympic and Paralympic Committees across the globe. The committees are expected to coordinate the vaccine deliveries with local authorities in line with each country's vaccination guidelines and local legislation.

      “We would like to thank Pfizer and BioNTech for this very generous donation to support the vaccination of athletes and Games participants ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020,” IOC President Thomas Bach was quoted as saying by the organization.

      The initiative is set to encourage athletes and other participants of the Games to undergo vaccination in their home countries before they travel to Japan for the event “not only to contribute to the safe environment of the Games, but also out of respect for the residents of Japan,” the statement read.

      Besides, it noted that the doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine under the agreement would come “as an addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries” for national immunization campaigns.

      The Tokyo Olympics were scheduled for summer 2020 but had to be postponed for a year due to the pandemic. They will now take place from July 23 to August 8.

    • 14:07

      About 9.4Mln Russians Received Both Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine, Deputy Prime Minister Says

      Some 9.4 million Russians, or 6% of the populace, were administered both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on Thursday, adding that 13.4 million people have so far received their first dose.

      "To date, 13.4 million people have been vaccinated with the first kit, and 9.4 million people with the second kit," Golikova said at a working meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      A vaccination campaign started in Russia in December with the home-grown Sputnik V vaccine. Russia has also approved two more domestically-produced vaccines for use — EpiVacCorona and CoviVac.

    • 14:05

      EU to Enhance COVID-19 Treatment Portfolio, Authorise 5 New Therapeutics by Year-End

      The European Commission added new clauses to the EU vaccines strategy concerning COVID-19 treatments, where it pledged to extend its portfolio of available medicines before year-end by signing contracts with drug manufacturers.

      "The European Commission is today complementing the successful EU Vaccines Strategy with a strategy on COVID-19 therapeutics to support the development and availability of much-needed COVID-19 therapeutics, including for the treatment of ‘long COVID'," the official statement reads.

      The updated strategy sets targets for each step of the "life cycle" of potential new treatments, from research and development to procurement and implementation. As part of the plan, the Commission pledged to invest about 140 million euros ($168 million) in R&D as it aims to identify and begin producing promising therapeutics by end of 2021.

      "[To] Authorise at least three new therapeutics by October and possibly two more by the end of the year and develop flexible regulatory approaches to speed up the assessment of promising and safe COVID-19 therapeutics," the EC stated its goal.

      The Commission expects to ink first contracts for the purchase of authorized therapeutics by year-end.

      "Vaccinations save lives, but they cannot yet eradicate COVID-19. We need a strong push on treatments to limit the need for hospitalisation, speed up recovery times, and reduce mortality," Stella Kyriakides, EU commissioner for health and food safety, was cited as saying by the press release.

      The EU therapeutics and vaccines strategy is part of the joint effort by the member states to prepare and respond to health crises and ensure the availability of affordable medicine, including treatments for COVID-19.

    • 13:52

      France Permits COVID-19 Vaccination to Teens Aged 16-17 With Serious Diseases

      Starting Thursday, French citizens aged 16-17 who suffer from serious diseases that can contribute to the development of a severe form of the coronavirus will be able to be inoculated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to the French Health Ministry.

      In late April, President Emmanuel Macron announced that all French over 18 diagnosed with obesity would be able to receive a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine starting 1 May. People over 18 overall will be eligible for inoculation starting June 15.

      "People aged 16 and 17 suffering from a condition with very high risk of a severe form of COVID-19 are allowed, as of this day, to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in vaccination centers," the ministry said in a statement.

      According to the Le Parisien newspaper, the new rules apply to some 800,000 teenagers diagnosed with cancer, cystic fibrosis or rare deceases.

      France began its immunization campaign in late December 2020 with inoculation of old people and medical workers. To date, a total of 16,763,053 first doses were administered in the country, and 6,148,514 people have been inoculated twice.

    • 12:11

      Russia Would Back Idea of Suspending Intellectual Property Rights on Coronavirus Vaccines, Putin Says

      Russia would back the proposal to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova.

      "Right now we hear that there are ideas in Europe that, in my opinion, deserve attention. [The idea is to] waive all patent protection rights on vaccines against COVID-19. This not only does not contradict, but, as far as I understand, complies with certain rules of the World Trade Organization, which provides for the lifting of such patent protection in extraordinary circumstances," he said.

      Putin added that the ongoing pandemic should be considered extraordinary circumstances.

      "Therefore, Tatyana Alekseevna [Golikova], I would ask you and your colleagues to look at this, to work it out. Undoubtedly, Russia would support such an idea," the president said.

    • 12:07

      Sweden Detects 6,526 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:02

      One-Third of Europeans Covered With At Least 1 Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

      More than 30% of EU population have to date received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 12% have received both doses, EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said on Thursday.

      "At present, over 30% of EU population has received its first dose, and for the second dose we have reached 12%," the commissioner said.

      The Commission hopes to get 70% of population vaccinated as early as in July, Kyriakides added.

    • 12:01

      Russia Authorises One-Shot Sputnik Light Vaccine Against COVID-19 for Use

      In this handout photo released by Russian Direct Investment Fund, a view shows a fridge with packages of Russian Sputnik-Light one-dose vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) developed by the Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology during clinical trials, in Moscow, Russia.

      Russia Authorises Single-Dose Sputnik Light COVID Vaccine For Use

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has registered Sputnik Light, the single-dose vaccine against COVID-19, which has an efficacy of 79.4 percent, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said.
      Read more
    • 11:31

      German Parliament Backs Government's Decree on Lifting COVID Restrictions for Vaccinated

      The German parliament on Thursday voted in favor of the government's decree that wants to lift the coronavirus restrictions for the people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from it, according to a livestream by Phoenix broadcaster.

      The decree was initially supported by the legal issues committee and will now go on to the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 German states.

    • 11:28

      Philippines Reports 6,637 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:23

      We'll Ensure No Death Due to Lack of Oxygen, If We Get 700 Tonnes of Oxygen Daily, Delhi Chief Minister Says

      "If we get an adequate supply of oxygen - 700 tonnes - we will be able to set up 9,000-9,500 beds in Delhi. We will be able to create oxygen beds. I assure you that we will not let anyone die of an oxygen shortage in Delhi," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

    • 11:14

      Pandemic Will Retreat This Summer if We Follow the Rules, Swedish Public Health Agency Chief Says

    • 11:14

      Quacks to Help Fight COVID-19 in India's West Bengal

    • 10:31

      Pfizer/BioNTech Announce Deal to Supply Vaccines For Olympic Athletes

    • 09:47

      France to Offer COVID-19 Vaccines to Those Aged 50 and Over on Monday

    • 09:17

      European Union Agrees to Open Up to Israeli Tourists

    • 08:13

      Sri Lanka Bans Travel From India Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

    • 08:03

      Russia Registers 7,639 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 7,639 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 7,795 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,855,128 the coronavirus response centre said on Thursday.

      "Over the past day, 7,639 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 1,023 cases (13.4%) without clinical symptoms," the centre said, adding that the rate of increase was at 0.16%.

      Moscow confirmed 2,114 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, down from 2,432 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 715 new cases and the Moscow Region with 600.

      The response centre reported 351 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 360 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 112,246.

      Total recoveries increased by 7,788 over the given period, up from 7,506 the previous day, and reached 4,472,338 in total.

    • 07:52

      China Ready to Discuss Patents for Vaccines Within World Trade Organisation, Foreign Ministry Says

      China is prepared to discuss sharing patents for the coronavirus vaccines within the World Trade Organization (WTO), Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Thursday.

      "China is ready to have a constructive dialogue within the WTO and to achieve a positive and fair solution," the spokesperson told a briefing, when asked if China was ready to give up the rights to its vaccines.

    • 07:30

      Australia Reports 5 New Cases of Post-AstraZeneca Vaccine Thrombosis, Medical Regulator Says

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

      Australia Reports 5 New Cases of Blood Clots After AstraZeneca Vaccine

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australia has recorded five new cases of blood clots that developed in patients who were administered the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the country's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said on Thursday, adding that the total reports of the post-vaccination thrombosis rose to 11.
      Read more
    • 07:24

      China Urges G7 to Promote Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines 'Instead of Hoarding'

    • 07:23

      EU Chief Says Ready to 'Discuss' COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Waivers

    • 06:48

      Philippine President Duterte Orders Arrest of Mask Violators

      "My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly... arrest them and detain them, investigate why they are doing it," Duterte said.

    • 05:17

      Pandemic-Hit Air France-KLM Loses 1.5 Bn Euros in Q1

      Air France-KLM has announced a net loss of 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in the first quarter, as coronavirus-related flight restrictions continue to affect the aviation industry.

      "A year into the Covid crisis, lockdown measures and travel restrictions in our home markets and around the world continue to strongly impact the group's activity," chief executive Benjamin Smith said in a statement.

    • 05:12

      Thai Activist Charged With Insulting King Contracts Coronavirus in Jail - Reports

      An anonymous corrections department official told Reuters that Thai activist lawyer Arnon Nampa, who was jailed on charges of insulting the country's king, has contracted coronavirus in custody.

      "Arnon tested positive for COVID yesterday and at the moment he has been sent to the prison hospital for treatment," the official said.

    • 05:01

      Dominican Republic Receives 2 Mln Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine From China

      The Dominican Republic has received a batch of 2 million doses of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, the republic's vice president, Raquel Peña, said.

      This is the largest batch of vaccines delivered to the country.

      "This Wednesday, the Dominican Republic received a new batch of 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and 5 million syringes purchased from the People's Republic of China, which will allow the national vaccination plan to continue and begin phase III on Monday, 10 May," Pena said on Twitter.

      As of 4 May, the Dominican authorities have applied 2.12 million doses of vaccines, 804,000 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The government hopes with the new supply to increase the rate of the population's immunization.

      On Monday, the Dominican Republic began the second phase of vaccination, which includes all residents over 50 years old. President Luis Abinader received his first dose of the Sinovac vaccine on 5 May.

    • 05:00

      India Registers Record 412,262 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

      India has registered 412,262 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 21,077,410, according to the ministry.

      Within the same period of time, the death toll has risen by 3,980 to 230,168 people. More than 17.28 million patients have recovered since the start of the epidemic.

      India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, following the United States with more than 32.55 million patients.

    Live Updates: India Registers Record 412,262 New COVID-19 Cases, Nearly 4,000 Deaths
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