14:23 GMT15 June 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (337)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 3.2 million and over 155 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 US is still the most-affected nation amid the pandemic; over 32.6 million have been infected, and the death toll exceeds 580,000. Next is India, with over 21 million confirmed cases and more than 234,000 deaths; followed by Brazil, with 15 million confirmed cases and over 416,000 fatalities.

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    • 23:34

      Oklahoma to Receive Refund for Hydroxychloroquine Stockpile - State Attorney General

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Oklahoma has reached a deal with pharmaceutical wholesaler FFF Enterprises to receive a refund for the stockpile of hydroxychloroquine that the state had purchased, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced.

      "Based on the unique circumstances encountered by the Oklahoma Department of Health, the company has agreed to return to the Department of Health the full purchase price paid for the medication last year," the Office of the Attorney said in a statement on Friday.

      Oklahoma purchased hydroxychloroquine after it was authorized for emergency use as a treatment for people infected with the coronavirus. However, the authorization was later revoked by the Food and Drug Administration, prompting Oklahoma to ask for a refund.

      Oklahoma is set to receive a refund of roughly $2.6 million from the pharmaceutical wholesaler FFF Enterprises, whom Attorney General Hunter thanked for their understanding and partnership.

    • 23:13

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in Brazil Rises by Over 78,000 to Over 15.08Mln

      A nurse attends to a COVID-19 patient who has been intubated in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in Brazil Rises by Over 78,000 to Over 15.08Mln

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 78,886, to 15,082,449, within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Friday.
      Read more
    • 21:00

      Russian, Peruvian Foreign Ministers Discuss Sputnik V - Lima

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Foreign Minister of Peru Allan Wagner has discussed his country's interest in the Sputnik V vaccine with top Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov, the Peruvian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

      "Peru's Foreign Minister Allan Wagner had a fruitful conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov today, given the good level of relations between the two countries. [They] talked about various aspects of the health crisis due to COVID-19, especially about Peru's interest in the Sputnik V vaccine,“ the ministry wrote on Twitter.

      The officials also discussed the scenarios of the post-pandemic international relations, as well as the top issues of bilateral agenda, the office noted in a follow-up tweet.

      To date, Sputnik V, the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine, has been authorized for emergency use in 64 countries with a total population of over 3.2 billion people. The efficacy of the Russian vaccine stands at 97.6%, based on the latest analysis of data on the post-vaccination infection percentage among 3.8 million vaccinated Russians. It is higher than the 91.6% efficacy shown in an interim analysis from the trial published in The Lancet in early February.

    • 20:59

      US Allows International Travelers to Use Self-Tests for Coronavirus - CDC

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that international air travelers wishing to enter the United States can use certain types of self-tests to prove that they are not infected with the novel coronavirus.

      “International air passengers traveling to the United States can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) that meets the following criteria,” the CDC said on its website.

      The test must have emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test. The telehealth provider must confirm the person’s identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result and issue a report that meets the CDC requirements.

      Airlines and other aircraft operators must be able to review and confirm the person’s identity and the test result details. The passenger must also be able to present the documentation of test results to US officials, if requested.

      Since January 12, 2021, CDC has been requiring  air passengers arriving in the United States to get tested no more than three days before their flight. Passengers must present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding.

    • 19:53

      Patent Waivers for COVID-19 Vaccines Will Not Boost Medium, Short-Term Production - EU

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The world urgently needs vaccines, and the patent waiver for coronavirus drugs will not solve this issue in the short- and medium term, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday at the EU Social Summit in Porto.

      "In the short and medium term, the IP waiver will not solve the problems, will not bring a single dose of vaccine," von der Leyen stated.

      According to the EC chief, the more effective approach would be to boost vaccine sharing, increase vaccine exports and invest in increasing the capacity to manufacture the drugs globally.

    • 19:15

      US National Security Adviser, Caribbean Leaders Discuss COVID-19 Response - White House

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held a virtual discussion on Friday with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque and leaders from regional states to discuss COVID-19, climate change and other issues, White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.

      "Mr. Sullivan reaffirmed the Biden-Harris administration’s unwavering commitment to work together with the Caribbean region on managing the COVID-19 pandemic, advancing economic recovery, addressing climate change, and strengthening regional democracy and security," Horne said.

      Sullivan proposed regular high-level US-CARICOM engagement, which includes a meeting between President Joe Biden and CARICOM leaders, she added.

      On Wednesday, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths are surging among the region's youth with Brazil seeing a doubling in mortality rates among those under 40.

    • 17:32

      Pfizer Applies for Permit to Administer COVID Vaccine to Teens Aged 12-15, Swiss Watchdog Says

      US drugmaker Pfizer has applied to Switzerland’s medicines regulator for the extension of the use of its coronavirus vaccine to teens of 12-15 years, the watchdog said on Friday.

      The vaccine trademarked "Comirnaty” is currently allowed for people aged 16 and over.

      “Swissmedic will review the application in the rolling procedure. Pfizer can submit the latest data continuously without having to wait for the conclusive results from the clinical studies,” the regulator said in a statement.

      It specified that the company has submitted the same application to the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

      Besides the Pfizer vaccine, Switzerland also uses vaccines developed by Moderna and Johnson&Johnson in the national immunization campaign, while the AstraZeneca drug remains under review together with the Curevac.

      To date, the country has fully vaccinated 1,007,496 people, according to the Federal Office of Public Health.

    • 17:04

      Only Handful of Countries Made It Onto UK’s COVID-19 Green List for Foreign Holidays

      UK holidaymakers will only be able to travel to a handful of countries, including Portugal, Israel and the Falkland Islands, from May 17 without having to self-isolate or pay for a 10 day-stay in a government quarantine hotel on their return, the UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced on Friday.

      The “green list” unveiled by Shapps during a televised press conference also includes Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Gibraltar, while Spain, Greece and the United States, some of the most popular destinations for UK tourists sit in the “amber” category, meaning that visitors should self-isolate for 10 days on their return.

    • 16:41

      France, UK Help India Secure More Oxygen Amid COVID-19 Infection Surge

      French company Novair Group pledges to start delivery of 21 oxygen plants to India next week, the Indian Embassy in France said Friday, just as the UK announced sending more oxygen generators to help Delhi amid surge in coronavirus infections.

      "French company @NovairGroup says delivery of 21 large oxygen plants ordered by Delhi Government will start next week. Each unit with 24,000L/Hr capacity of oxygen supply," the Indian Embassy tweeted.

      Meanwhile, the UK is sending "three oxygen generators the size of shipping containers," the UK Minister of State Foreign Commonwealth& Development Affairs, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon tweeted.

      "Each one can produce 500 litres of oxygen per minute, which will help meet the Indian healthcare system's most pressing needs," Tariq Ahmad wrote.

      India has recorded a cumulative total of 21 million cases so far, surpassed only by the United States. On Thursday alone, India registered 414,188 new cases in 24 hours.

    • 16:39

      US Releases $21.6Bln in Funding to Help Prevent Evictions Amid COVID-19, Treasury Says

      The US government is allocating $21.6 billion to help residents in need pay rent, preventing them from being evicted during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Treasury Department said in a press release on Friday.

      "Today, the US Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the White House American Rescue Plan Implementation Team and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the allocation of an additional $21.6 billion under the American Rescue Plan for Emergency Rental Assistance, which will help prevent evictions and ensure basic housing security for millions of Americans impacted by the affordable housing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19," the release said.

    • 16:14

      Number of Americans With at Least 1 Vaccine Shot to Reach 150Mln on Friday, White House Says

      The number of Americans who have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose will reach 150 million on Monday while the number of those who are fully vaccinated will amount to 110 million, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Friday.

      "Overall, by the end of today, we will hit two significant milestones in our vaccination program: 150 million Americans with at least their first shot, and 110 million Americans fully vaccinated," Zients said during a briefing.

      Zients pointed out that meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adult Americans with at least one dose by July 4 will require another 13 percent of adults Americans receiving a vaccine.

      With respect to the US support of the international vaccination effort, Zients noted that the US continues to work with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue partners to expand vaccine manufacturing facilities in India while Washington provides the most funding to COVAX program.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky pointed out that only about one-fifth of 18 to 29 year olds and less than one-third of 30 to 39 year olds are fully vaccinated at present.

    • 16:00

      There is Outbreak of More Than 200 COVID-19 Cases at US Diplomatic Mission in India, Report Says

      There has been an outbreak of more than 200 novel coronavirus cases among the workforce at the US diplomatic mission in India, which includes the US embassy in New Delhi and consulates across the country, CNN reported on Friday citing sources.

      The State Department has conducted a medical evacuation for American citizens working for the US mission to India, the report said.

      The report noted that it is unclear which US diplomatic facilities in India have been affected or if the number of positive cases has increased.

      The Indian Ministry of Health said on Friday that the country has registered 414,188 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, marking the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak.

      The total number of those who tested positive for the coronavirus in India has reached 21,491,598. The death toll has risen by 3,915 to 234,083 people. More than 17.61 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 32.6 million patients.

    • 15:48

      WHO Chief Praises US Pledge to Back Intellectual Property Rights Waiver on COVID Vaccines

      Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday welcomed the United States' pledge to support a suspension of patents for coronavirus vaccines.

      "Wednesday’s announcement by the ... United States that it will support a temporary waiver of intellectual property protections for #COVID19 vaccines is a significant statement of solidarity and support for #VaccinEquity," Tedros told a press conference, as quoted on WHO Twitter account.

      Tedros said that this waiver was "not a politically easy thing to do," so the leadership in this regard was very appreciated.

      The WTO provisions for intellectual property waivers "were designed precisely for a situation like this," Tedros said.

      "If we don’t use them now, then when?" the WHO director continued.

    • 15:48

      WHO Gives Emergency Use Listing to China's Sinopharm Coronavirus Vaccine

      World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on Friday that the WHO gave China's Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine emergency use listing.

      "This afternoon, WHO gave Emergency Use Listing to Sinopharm Beijing’s #COVID19 vaccine, making it the sixth vaccine to receive WHO validation for safety, efficacy and quality," the WHO chief said at a press conference.

      The Emergency Use Listing (EUL) procedure allows streamlining the process by which new or unlicensed products can be used during public health emergencies.

    • 15:26

      Coronavirus Precautions Help Reduce Seasonal Infections, Health Data Company in France Says

      COVID-19 containment measures, including masks, social distancing, and enhanced disinfection, have helped reduce seasonal epidemics, as shown by lower sales of common medicines in French pharmacies since fall, according to Jean-Marc Aubert, the head of the health data company IQVIA in France.

      In particular, by late March, sales of cough sedatives dropped 54% over the year, broad-spectrum penicillin saw a 36% decline, that of non-steroidal antirheumatic drugs fell by 27%, local rhinological preparations by 36%, and intestinal transit inhibitors by 18%.

      "It's simple, since October-November, for pharmacies, the winter season has not taken place!" Aubert said, as quoted by Les Echos on Friday.

      However, the sales of vitamin C have increased, the expert noted, adding that it might be linked to people’s belief that the vitamin is effective against COVID-19.

      The company also stated that such seasonal diseases as flu or gastroenteritis have not generally occurred during the winter. In particular, France has seen very few cases of the flu compared to an annual average of 2.5 million infections, while the number of people who were sick with gastroenteritis during the season fell by 30% compared to normal rates, Aubert explained.

    • 15:25

      Pfizer Seeks Full FDA Approval for Its COVID-19 Vaccine

      Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE said on Friday that they have begun the process of seeking full authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for their coronavirus vaccines for individuals aged 16 and above, making them the first companies to apply for full regulatory approval.

      “Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced the initiation of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of their mRNA vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older,” the companies said in a joint statement.

      Pfizer and BioNTch obtained emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, and has delivered more than 170 million doses since then.

      The FDA has so far only granted emergency use authorization for vaccines being used in the United States.

      Data to support the so-called BLA will be submitted to the agency “on a rolling basis” over the coming weeks, with request for a priority review, the statement said.

      The target date for acceptance will be decided by the agency once the BLA submissions were complete and formally reviewed, the statement added.

    • 15:04

      Turkey Expects First Shipments of Sputnik V Vaccine This Month

      Sputnik V Vaccine

      Erdogan Says Discussed Large-Scale Procurement of Russia's Sputnik V With Putin

      ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkey will soon receive a large shipment of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and launch joint manufacturing in its territory, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, commenting on his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
      Read more
    • 14:01

      Saudi Arabia Says All Employees Must Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 to Go to Work

      Saudi Arabia requires all employees of public and private companies to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be able to attend their workplaces, the country's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced on Friday.

      "The ministry ... clarifies that receiving the coronavirus vaccine will be a prerequisite for employees to be present in their workplace in public, private and charitable organizations," a statement read.

      The ministry urged all workers to prepare to get the shot.

      The date the decision comes into force and details about the process are yet to be released.

      On Sunday, Saudi Arabia stated that starting May 17, only those who are fully vaccinated or received one dose 14 days prior to the trip can travel outside the country. So far, over 10 million shots were administered in the country with a total population of 34 million people.

      Since the start of the outbreak, Saudi Arabia registered over 423,400 cases of infection, including 7,000 deaths.

    • 14:00

      Belarus on Track to Assessing Safety of Home-Grown COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

      Belarus has developed a candidate version of the homegrown coronavirus vaccine and will assess its safety and conduct clinical trials in the near future, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Alexander Tarasenko said on Friday.

      "Currently, we have received a candidate vaccine — the so-called in vitro vaccine. We followed the path of creating a classic type of vaccine ... a whole-virion one. This technology is well tested — it has been used for over a century. Its main advantage is the presence in the vaccine of a complete set of antigens necessary for the development of an immune response. This is an inactivated vaccine, which completely eliminates the threat of restoring the pathogenic properties of the virus," Tarasenko said, as cited by the health ministry on Telegram.

      "We will further have to assess the safety and efficacy of the in vitro vaccine, as well as conduct pre-clinical and clinical trials of the drug," the official added.

    • 13:52

      Iran Registers 17,076 COVID-19 Cases

    • 13:22

      Turkey to Have Domestic COVID-19 Vaccine by September, October, Erdogan Says

      Turkey is planning to finish developing its own COVID-19 vaccine by September or October, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

      "We continue the active work of creating a domestic vaccine against the coronavirus, [and] we are planning to conclude its development by September or October," Erdogan told reporters.

      The president mentioned Ankara being ready to export the vaccine to any country on request.

      The country started its vaccination drive in January, using China's CoronaVac vaccine, as well as that developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Turkey has already vaccinated over 24 million people, more than 10 million of whom having received both doses.

      In late April, Turkey approved the emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V. The vaccine's shipments are expected to start in May.

    • 13:06

      UK PM Boris Johnson 'Can't See Any Reason' to Delay Roadmap to Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

    • 12:42

      Indian COVID-19 Strain Officially Of Concern, Public Health England Says

    • 12:19

      Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Says to Propose That EU Accept All Effective Vaccines

    • 12:13

      Canada Willing to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Intellectual Property Waiver, International Trade Minister Says

      "Canada is ready to discuss proposals on a waiver for intellectual property (IP) protection, particular to COVID-19 vaccines, under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS," International Trade Minister Mary Ng said.

    • 11:58

      PM Johnson Says UK Needs to Be Very Careful With Indian COVID-19 Strain

      "I think we've got to be very careful about that. We're doing a huge amount, obviously, to make sure that when we do find outbreaks of the Indian variant that we do surge testing, that we do door-to-door testing," Johnson said. 

    • 11:02

      Indonesia Reports 6,327 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 10:34

      Underworld Don Chota Rajan Still Alive, Admitted for COVID-19 Treatment, AIIMS Says

      Amid the rumours of the death of underworld don Chhota Rajan due to COVID-19, AIIMS and Senior Delhi Police officials have clarified and asserted that he is still alive.

    • 09:31

      Saudi Arabia to Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory For All Workers

      Saudi Arabia requires all employees of public and private companies to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be able to attend their workplaces, the country's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced on Friday.

      "The ministry ... clarifies that receiving the coronavirus vaccine will be a prerequisite for employees to be present in their workplace in public, private and charitable organizations," a statement read.

      The ministry urged all workers to prepare to get the shot.

      The date the decision comes into force and details about the process are yet to be released.

      On Sunday, Saudi Arabia stated that starting 17 May, only those who are fully vaccinated or received one dose 14 days prior to the trip can travel outside the country. So far, over 10 million shots were administered in the country with a total population of 34 million people.

      Since the start of the outbreak, Saudi Arabia registered over 423,400 cases of infection, including 7,000 deaths.

    • 09:20

      US Support For COVID-19 Patent Waiver Will Push WTO Talks, WTO Chief Says

    • 08:40

      Russia Registers 8,386 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 8,386 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 7,639 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,863,514 the coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

      "Over the past day, 8,386 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 1,154 cases (13.8%) without clinical symptoms," the centre said, adding that the rate of increase was at 0.17%.

      Moscow confirmed 2,846 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, up from 2,114 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 722 new cases and the Moscow Region with 608.

      The response centre reported 376 COVID-19 fatalities, up from 351 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 112,622.

      Total recoveries increased by 8,022 over the given period, up from 7,788 the previous day, and reached 4,480,360 in total.

    • 08:39

      Sputnik V Vaccine Proves Reliable After Tests in Hungary, Slovakian Health Ministry Says

      A Hungarian lab's tests of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, which was sent to Slovakia, showed that the vaccine was reliable, Slovak Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky said Friday.

      Slovakia received the first shipment of Sputnik V on 1 March. As the country does not have certified laboratories to do the tests, it sent 46 ampoules to Hungary's Official Medicinal Control Laboratory.

      "The test results of Sputnik V vaccine in Hungary are negative, which means it's all good," Lengvarsky told reporters in a televised briefing.

      Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on 26 April that the country would approve Sputnik V for use if it tested well in Hungary.

    • 08:39

      Philippines Detects 7,733 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 08:27

      Argentina Registers 24,086 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:11

      UK's 'Green List' of Holiday Countries To Be Announced Later on Friday, Reports Say

    • 08:10

      Germany's Third Coronavirus Wave 'Appears To Be Broken', Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn Says

      Germany has managed to overcome the third wave of the coronavirus disease pandemic, and while incidence remains high, it is going down, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.

      "The last week's trend has been confirmed, the third wave seems to have been overcome. The incidence remains high, but it is going down. It is not going down the same everywhere, but it is going down nevertheless," Spahn said at a press conference, adding that German citizens must continue following their region's guidelines.

      The country declared a third wave on 11 March. Since then, the epidemic peaked in the middle of April, when the number of new COVID-19 cases could be up to 29,000 a day. Recently, however, it was hovering between 7,000 to 22,000.

      Germany has confirmed a total of over 3.5 million cases, including more than 84,428 fatalities.

    • 06:59

      Lithuania Reports 1,244 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 06:31

      Indian State of Goa's Government Bans Shooting of Films, TV Shows Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:58

      Mongolia Detects 737 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 05:45

      Ukraine Reports 8,404 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 05:44

      After Mount Everest, COVID is Making Way Onto More Himalayan Peaks as Climbers Keep Testing Positive

      The Dhaulagiri mountain range in the Himalayas is seen from the village of Nagi, some 200 kms west of Kathmandu on October 27, 2010.  Surrounded by the lofty heights of the Himalayas, Nepal is a land of colorful cultures, ancient history and people, picturesque scenery and some of the best walking on earth.

      After Mount Everest, COVID is Making Way Onto More Himalayan Peaks as Climbers Keep Testing Positive

      Nepal has eased quarantine rules in a bid to give a boost to its COVID-hit tourism industry and has issued Everest climbing permits to some 400 people. However, reports suggest that over 30 climbers have tested positive for coronavirus and have allegedly been evacuated from the foot of Mount Everest, raising fears of a serious outbreak.
      Read more
    • 05:42

      Japan's Government to Extend State Of Emergency in Tokyo Through May

    • 05:41

      Germany Detects 18,485 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 05:39

      Australia to Lift Ban on Citizens Returning From India Next Week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison Says

    • 04:26

      India Registers Record 414,188 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours

      India has registered 414,188 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 21,491,598, according to the ministry.

      Within the same period of time, the death toll has risen by 3,915 to 234,083 people. More than 17.61 million patients have recovered since the start of the epidemic.

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