02:48 GMT24 July 2021
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (341)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 3.880 million and over 179.1 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.

    The United States, India, and Brazil remain 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, India and Mexico, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    The Biden administration has announced a new timeline for its goal to vaccinate at least 70 percent of all adult Americans by 4 July after it became obvious that the goal would not be met, based on the current pace of vaccination, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients revealed.

    Meanwhile, concerns are mounting in the European Union over the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, which was first detected in India.

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    • 18:32

      Macron Calls Europe's COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Successful

      Europe is successfully conducting the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

      The European Union kicked off the bloc-wide immunization campaign in late December.

      "Our priority today, first of all, is to continue to get out of the pandemic. I am here to defend the work that we have done at the European level, to defend your work and the work of the commissioners involved in vaccination in Europe. Europe is conducting successful vaccination [program]," Macron told reporters before a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the Elysee Palace.

      He noted that the purchasing power, production capacity, research and development, and innovation in this area had also increased, adding that Europe was emerging "stronger" from the coronavirus crisis.

      According to the latest data, more than 32 million people across France have received at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, with over 19 million of them fully vaccinated.

    • 17:39

      Greece Cancels Curfew, Mandatory Masks Outdoors

      Greece is set to cancel the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors and lift the curfew, deputy civil protection minister Nikos Hardalias said on Wednesday.

      "This decision was unanimously made by the committee of epidemiologists in connection with the improvement of the epidemiological situation in the country. Based on the recommendation, the government decided that the wearing of masks indoors remains obligatory without exceptions, while the movement on the street without a mask [is allowed] if there is no congestion of people. This measure will come in effect at 5:00 a.m. [2:00 GMT] on June 24," Hardalias said at a briefing.

      Starting next Monday, the nightly curfew will also be lifted. The measure took effect in Greece in early November.

      In addition, 10 people, instead of the current six, will be able to sit at one table in restaurants from June 28, according to the official.

      To date, Greece has registered over 400,000 COVID-19 cases with the death toll at more than 12,000.

    • 17:05

      Saudi Health Ministry Approves Mix-and-Match Approach to COVID-19 Vaccines

      The Saudi Health Ministry’s infectious diseases committee allowed on Wednesday mixing and matching brands of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that everyone gets two doses to become fully immunized.

      "International scientific studies showed it was possible to give two doses of two different coronavirus vaccines safely and effectively," the ministry tweeted.

      Other countries around the world have adopted the approach due to shortages of vaccines and concerns about the safety of some brands that were administered as the first dose.

      The Saudi health authority said almost half of the Arab nation’s 35.3 million population had received at least one shot. It recorded 1,253 new infection cases on Wednesday, down from 1,479 on Tuesday. The total has now topped 178,000, with 7,716 people having died from the virus.

    • 17:04

      Americans’ Pandemic Fears Fall to Record Low But 40% Still Wear Masks, Poll Shows

      US citizens’ fears over the COVID-19 have fallen to their lowest level since the pandemic began in early 2020, but some 40 percent are still wearing masks in public, a new Monmouth University poll  revealed on Wednesday.

      “Public anxiety about contracting Covid-19 has plummeted since the beginning of the year and stands at its lowest level since the pandemic began,” Monmouth University said. “Poll results also find nearly four in ten Americans have not changed their mask-wearing habits despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

      However, the poll also reported that 20 percent of US adults remain opposed to getting vaccinated.

      “Partisanship continues to be the key dividing line for both vaccine willingness and maintaining mask protocols,” Monmouth University said.

      Worries about a family member getting seriously ill from the coronavirus have plunged to an all-time low with 42 percent of Americans expressing concern about it happening. In previous polls since the pandemic started, that number ranged between 67 percent and 83 percent, it added. 

    • 14:56

      Merkel Says Germany Should Expect More Virus Variants to Emerge

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 27, 2021.

      Merkel Says Germany Should Expect More Virus Variants to Emerge

      BERLIN (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that more coronavirus variants will likely emerge before the world is vaccinated as she called for a cautious reopening.
      Read more
    • 14:55

      US Targets Crime With COVID-19 Relief Funds for Social Programs, Local Policing

      US police crime scene tape

      US Targets Crime With COVID-19 Relief Funds for Social Programs, Local Policing

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Biden administration urged state and local governments to use COVID-19 recovery funds to fight violent crime, especially gun violence, according to guidance issued by the US Treasury Department on Wednesday.
      Read more
    • 13:48

      Delta Variant to Account for 90% of New COVID-19 Cases in Europe, ECDC Says

      "The Delta variant is more transmissible than other circulating variants and we estimate that by the end of August, it will represent 90 percent" of new cases in the EU, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

    • 13:30

      Germany May Certify Sputnik V But Awaits for EU’s Decision, Health Ministry Says

      Germany may certify the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V on the national level but awaits the European Union’s decision, a spokesman of the German Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

      "Fundamentally, it is so that we, of course, as a nation-state can issue a permit, this applies not only to ‘Sputnik’ but for all other vaccines. However, we are emphasized in relation to vaccines against coronavirus, like the rest ... have decided to go the European way of certification. This also applies, from the point of view of the German government to the Sputnik vaccine.

    • 13:15

      Vietnam Detects 220 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 13:00

      Russia's COVID-Hit Buryatia Announces Non-Working Days From 27 June to 11 July

      The authorities in Russia's Republic of Buryatia in eastern Siberia decided on Wednesday to follow Moscow's lead in introducing non-working days due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, with days off lasting from 27 June to 11 July.

      "The non-working day regime will be introduced in the Republic of Buryatia from 27 June to 11 July. For two weeks, the activities of all enterprises will be banned, except for life-support services, grocery stores, businesses selling essential goods, pharmacies, housing and public utilities, public transport, media," the regional government said in a statement.

      Commenting on the epidemiological situation across Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that the country had seen a spike in the COVID-19 infections over the past week after enjoying relative stability in April and May. The incidence rate at the end of last week amounted to 76.2 cases per 100,000 people, 29.2% higher compared to the previous week, she added.

    • 12:51

      Vienna Considers 'Vaccination Parties' for Young Austrians

      Vienna authorities are weighing entertainment events for young people where they could get a coronavirus shot, the Austrian capital's health department said on Wednesday.

      Dubbed a "vaccination party," it is yet unclear whether it will be a one-time festival or a series of events, the health authority noted.

      Starting June 23, Vienna residents aged between 18 and 30 can sign up to receive Johnson & Johnson shots, which will also be available at the vaccination party.

      The event is planned for the next month. No further details have been disclosed by the department.

    • 12:39

      Afghanistan Reports 1,575 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 12:10

      20.7Mln Russians Received First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine, 16.7 Million Fully Vaccinated, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Says

    • 11:55

      Malaysia Detects 5,244 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 11:26

      COVID-19 Delta Variant Represents 9-10% of Cases in France, French Government Spokesman Says

    • 11:12

      Taiwan Extends Level-3 COVID-19 Alert to 12 July

    • 10:50

      Indonesia Registers Record 15,308 New Coronavirus Cases

    • 10:41

      Motorcycling-Japanese Grand Prix Cancelled Due to COVID-19

    • 10:26

      Over 150 Medical Workers in Texas Dismissed Over Refusal to Get COVID-19 Vaccine, Reports Say

      At least 150 workers at a hospital in the US city of Houston have resigned or been dismissed over their refusal to comply with the requirement to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Houston Chronicle newspaper reported on Tuesday.

      According to the newspaper, citing the Houston Methodist medical facility chain spokesperson Patti Muck, a total of 153 medical personnel have left their positions in the facility by Monday. The spokesperson also noted that the hospital has some 25,000 workers, most of whom abided by the vaccination rules.

    • 10:14

      Italy to Share 15Mln COVID-19 Vaccine Doses With Low-Income Countries, Prime Minister Says

       Italy is planning to donate 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses under the EU commitment to share 100 million doses with low-income countries until the end of the year, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.

      "Italy will make its contribution and donate 15 million doses," Draghi said.

      The prime minister mentioned the improved situation within the last three months, while also warning about the danger presented by the new COVID-19 strains, including the so-called Delta one.

      Italy launched its vaccination drive on December 27 and aspires to have 80 percent of the population immune by late September. So far, the country has fully vaccinated over 16 million people or more than 30 percent of the population over 12.

    • 10:11

      There Should Be No Travel Restrictions Within Europe for Fully Vaccinated Passengers, Ryanair CEO Says

    • 09:02

      Philippines Detects 4,353 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 08:35

      Vietnam Starts Third-Phase Trials of Its Nano Covax Vaccine Against COVID-19, Reports Say

      The third-phase trials of the Nano Covax vaccine against the coronavirus have kicked off in Vietnam, the state-run VNA news agency reports.

      About 880 doses have been administered to volunteers under the coordination of the Hanoi-based Vietnam Military Medical University in the northern region of Vietnam, while around 120 shots were given to volunteers in the south, under the coordination of the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City.

      According to VNA, Vietnam plans to administer the Nano Covax vaccine to another group of 12,000 volunteers in the near future, while data on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness will be available by mid-September.

      The first and second phase trials Vietnam’s first vaccine against COVID-19, developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, were held starting from December 2020 and February 2021, respectively. The demonstrated good immunity results among volunteers, according to VNA.

    • 08:21

      Russia Records 17,594 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours

      Russia registered 17,594 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 16,715 the day before, taking the cumulative total to 5,368,513, the federal response centre said on Wednesday.

      "Over the past day, 17,594 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 2,770 cases (15.8 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said, adding that the rate of increase grew to 0.33 percent.

      Moscow confirmed 6,534 daily infections, down from 6,555 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by the Moscow Region with 2,323 cases, up from 1,871 the day before, and St. Petersburg with 1,092 infections, up from 1,065 the day before.

      The response centre reported 548 new fatalities linked to the coronavirus, up from 546 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 130,895.

      In the same 24 hours, 12,660 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals across the country, up from 11,117 the day before, bringing the total to 4,902,110.

    • 07:13

      Belarus Reports First Case of COVID-19 Delta Variant, Ministry of Health Says

      The Belarusian capital of Minsk has detected its first case of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the press service of the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

      "An analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus sequence, distinguished in June from samples from patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases, showed that 10 tested samples in Minsk had a set of mutations in the spike protein characteristic to the Indian variant ... Therefore, it can be stated that the Indian variant of the virus was detected in Belarus. However, the circulation of the same variant was not detected in other regions of Belarus," the Ministry of Health said on their official Telegram channel.

      The first known sample of this COVID-19 variant was first detected in India in autumn last year and was registered by the GISAID data-sharing initiative on 7 October 2020.

      "The Indian variant can spread more effectively compared to other variants of the virus, which were circulating at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic," the Belarusian ministry said, adding that that could be due to the mutations in the spike protein of the virus which helps it "better attach to the receptor of cells."

      No evidence is available into the fact that the virus may be causing more severe illnesses, however, experts still urge citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

      It is also noted that the Delta variant of the virus did not only become widespread in India but also in other European countries. The high wave of illnesses of COVID-19 in Russia this June was also linked to this strain of the virus.

      In April, the World Health Organisation said that it believed the Delta strain of the virus to be more contagious.

      Active COVID-19 cases in Belarus have been decreasing since late December with the number standing at 4,248 on 22 June. Only 3.9% of the country's population are fully vaccinated.

    • 06:21

      Taiwan to Extend COVID-19 Curbs

    • 06:20

      Mongolia's COVID-19 Cases Top 100,000

    • 05:47

      Ukraine Registers 835 New COVID-19 Cases

    • 04:47

      India Reports 40 Cases of Delta Plus Variant of Novel Coronavirus

    • 04:21

      India's COVID-19 Tally Passes 30 Million

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