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U.S. flags are planted outside the Soldiers Home for the 88 veteran residents who have died during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S., May 13, 2020.  - Sputnik International

COVID-19 Live Updates: US Total Death Count Reaches 202,329, Centers for Disease Control Says

The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 981,000; over 32 million cases of the infection have been detected, of whom over 22 million have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States still has the highest case count in the world, with 6,977,521, including 202,798 fatalities and 2,710,183 recoveries.

India, which is the worst-affected country after the US, has confirmed 86,508 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, thus continuing to register the world's largest daily increase in the number of COVID-19 patients. The total number of those infected in India has reached 5,732,518.

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18:16 GMT 25.09.2020

"We are today moving into Phase III," De Santis said at a press conference. "There will not be limitations for the restaurants from the state of Florida."

De Santis said he was signing an order that would guarantee restaurants could operate at a minimum of 50 percent occupancy, regardless of local rules.

The number of daily COVID-19 cases has risen this month for the first time since July, according to the Tampa Bay times.

17:28 GMT 25.09.2020
17:28 GMT 25.09.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organisation has promised that investment in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, an international initiative to speed up production and distribution of equipment and materials necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, will pay back in less than 36 hours after global trade is restored, according to a report published on Friday.

The document, titled An Economic Investment Case & Financing Requirements, says that the accelerator's $38 billion-budget is nothing compared to the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic and is just 10 percent of what the global economy loses every month amid the pandemic. It is also just 1 percent of the total of stimulus packages approved by G20 countries to keep their economies afloat.

"ACT-Accelerator’s financing gap is $US 35 billion. Fully financing ACT-Accelerator to help shorten the duration of the crisis would pay back this investment in less than 36 hours once global mobility and trade are restored," the paper argues.

According to the WHO, the progress achieved by the initiative, including more than 1,700 clinical trials and 50 diagnostic tests, is being analysed and evaluated. Nine vaccine candidates are currently stored at the COVAX vaccine facility, a procurement mechanism, coordinated by Gavi.

"We are not asking for an act of charity. We are asking for an investment in the global recovery. The economic benefits from restoring international travel and trade alone would repay this investment very, very quickly," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

The issue of availability of medical goods and services across the globe has become even more pressing amid the ongoing pandemic, and various initiatives, including the ACT-Accelerator, which involves the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are seeking to tackle it.

17:22 GMT 25.09.2020

"We are at the end of September and we haven't even started our flu season yet, so what we are worried about is the possibility that these trends are going in the wrong direction. We want to avoid any national lockdowns that were happening in the beginning," Maria Van Kerkhove said.

17:09 GMT 25.09.2020
16:53 GMT 25.09.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Dr. Edward Kelley, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) director for integrated health services, on Friday stressed the need to concentrate on health care workers' safety and protection amid the COVID-19 crisis as they are the most vulnerable due to being on the frontline of the fight against the disease.

"Right now, in terms of what is reported to WHO, the health workers ... [account for] about 14 percent of all the infections that are reported to us. There's limited data on this, but I think it's highlighted that we need to study more, and it certainly puts the spotlight on ... reforming and supporting health workers in all aspects - and we're talking about not just care deliverers, but the people who clean the rooms, the people who work in the community, outreach workers have been majorly impacted," Kelley told a virtual briefing.

Reforms are important in the wake of the near-collapse of the world's health care systems at the peak of the pandemic, according to the WHO official.

"There has been an impact across the board in terms of health services. About half of all health services at one point were interrupted," he said.

Countries' health systems have been under severe strain due to the large number of people with atypical pneumonia who need hospital treatment in order to survive. China and Italy, the two epicentres of the disease early on, have seen huge proportions of their medical staff infected, with protective gear not always available in the early days of the pandemic.

16:42 GMT 25.09.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organisation has published draft criteria for the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Mariangela Simao, the WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said on Monday.

"We have not yet issued provisions for EUL [emergency use listing] of vaccines, but today I have good news for you because we have just published - put out for comments - the draft criteria for assessment of COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, listing all pre-qualifications, and this will help manufacturers in understanding the criteria," Simao told a virtual briefing.

Countries have been developing dozens of vaccines since the start of the outbreak earlier this year, but none have passes WHO phase 3 trials so far. The vaccine developed by Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute for Virology and Microbiology, Sputnik V, is so far the furthest ahead in its clinical trials compared to vaccines developed in other countries. Many vaccines are expected to be registered with the WHO by the end of the year.

16:29 GMT 25.09.2020

"So 1 million is a terrible number and I think we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million. There is a lot that can be done to save lives, both in terms of disease control, existing life-saving measures and the innovation that are coming down the pipe. The real question is - are we prepared, collectively, to do what it takes to avoid that number?" Michael Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Health emergencies program told a virtual briefing.

"If we don't take those actions and we don't continue to evolve the nature and scale and intensity of our cooperation, then yes, we will be looking at that number [2 million] and, sadly, a number much higher," he added.

16:25 GMT 25.09.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A senior Virginia public health official has warned that President Donald Trump's scheduled rally for 4,000 people in Newport poses a significant public health threat, USA Today reported on Friday.

Virginia Department of Public Health District Director Natasha Dwamena said the rally scheduled to be held on Friday night posed a severe pubic health threat given the novel coronavirus pandemic and advised the US president to cancel it, the report said.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has banned all gatherings of more than 250 people in Virginia to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier on Friday, Northam's office announced that he and his wife, First Lady Pamela Northam, have both tested positive for the novel coronavirus and Mrs. Northam has been exhibiting mild symptoms.

15:36 GMT 25.09.2020
15:11 GMT 25.09.2020

On Thursday, the United Kingdom registered 6,634 new cases which constituted the biggest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

14:54 GMT 25.09.2020

"Both the Governor and First Lady received PCR [polymerase chain reaction] nasal swab tests yesterday afternoon, and both tested positive," the release said. "Governor Northam is experiencing no symptoms. First Lady Pamela Northam is currently experiencing mild symptoms. Both remain in good spirits," a press release from the governor's office said on Friday.

12:17 GMT 25.09.2020

Local health authorities in Qingdao, a port city in eastern China’s Shandong province, have placed 375 people under quarantine after two new cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections were discovered in the city, the local health commission said in a statement on Friday.

The local health commission said in an earlier statement on Friday that two staff members of a local company tested positive for COVID-19 after they handled imported frozen seafood. Both of the infected patients showed no flu-like symptoms.

"As of now, we have identified 147 close contacts and another 228 close contacts of those close contacts. All of them have been placed under centralized mandatory quarantine. Their COVID-19 PCR tests results were negative," the statement said.

In response to the latest COVID-19 cases, local health authorities also tested 1,440 samples of imported frozen products and 51 of the tested samples showed positive results.

As China curbed domestic COVID-19 transmissions through strict quarantine and contact tracing measures, imported cases from overseas became the new source of COVID-19 infections in the country.

In addition to travelers returning from overseas who brought new COVID-19 infections, Chinese health authorities have identified a number of cases in which imported frozen seafood carried the deadly virus.

11:37 GMT 25.09.2020

Hundreds of restaurant and bar owners in the French city of Marseille have gathered on the streets to express discontent over the fresh state-backed restrictions imposed in the city in line with the recent resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases, which include the closures of bars and restaurants, the Sputnik correspondent reported on Friday.

"We want to work, we remain open," the protesters who gathered outside the Marseille commercial court are shouting.

On Thursday, the city authorities appealed to the government to delay the introduction of new coronavirus measures for 10 days to see if the epidemic would slow down.

France has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, with the most recent daily record high of 16,096 cases confirmed on Thursday. Some restrictive measures, including the mandatory wearing of face masks while outdoors and in shared spaces, have been in effect since August.

To date, France has detected 536,289 coronavirus infections and 31,524 related deaths.

Earlier in the week, the government put Marseille, along with the French overseas department of Guadeloupe, on the "red zone" list of highly infected areas of the country. French Health Minister Olivier Veran has ordered bars and restaurants in both areas to close starting Saturday for two weeks.

11:33 GMT 25.09.2020

The recent rise in COVID-19 infections seen in Russia had been forecast, an aid to the Health Minister said on Friday.

"We are seeing the increase in coronavirus infections that was predicted by the experts of the Russian Health Ministry," Alexey Kuznetsov said.

Earlier in the day, the federal coronavirus response center reported 7,212 new cases in the last 24 hours, up from 6,595 a day earlier, which brings the cumulative total to 1,136,048.

10:47 GMT 25.09.2020

Participants in China’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials retain a relatively high level of antibodies six months after inoculation, Zeng Guang, a leading epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Friday.

China approved clinical trials of its first coronavirus vaccine on March 16. The vaccine was developed by a team led by Chen Wei, an academician of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, which headed to Wuhan in January to start research.

"At present, there are already relatively positive results, and serological tests show that the level of antibodies in the very first participants in clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in our country is still quite high," Zeng said at a briefing.

According to the researcher, "this indicates that the vaccine may have a fairly long protection period."

He at the same time noted that long-term research is needed to determine exactly how long each of the vaccines could protect a person from the virus.

China is currently conducting clinical trials for 11 coronavirus vaccines, four of which are in phase 3, the Health Ministry reported last week.

10:18 GMT 25.09.2020

Belarus may consider imposing a mandatory two-week quarantine for international arrivals, especially those from Western countries, due to the uptick in new COVID-19 cases seen over recent weeks, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

Earlier in the year, the Belarusian government adopted a decree stating that arrivals from 169 countries would be required to spend two weeks in self-isolation upon their arrival in Belarus. This list was gradually reduced throughout the summer months, including in July, when the period of quarantine was canceled for arrivals from Russia. 

"We will see next week. I am inclined to introduce quarantine for people arriving from the West,” Lukashenko said during a meeting with the governor of Russia’s Irkutsk region, Igor Kobzev.

The Belarusian president added that the expected period of self-isolation would be two weeks.

07:40 GMT 25.09.2020

Russia recorded 7,212 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, up from 6,595 a day earlier, which brings the cumulative total to 1,136,048, the federal response centre said Friday.

Moscow registers 1,560 infections, an increase compared to Thursday's 1,050 new cases. St. Petersburg recorded 224 new cases, the Moscow region 208.

The response centre reported 108 COVID fatalities in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 20,056, and 4,317 recoveries, which brings the total to 934,146.

06:55 GMT 25.09.2020
06:44 GMT 25.09.2020
06:06 GMT 25.09.2020

Countries where third phase human trials for the Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate are underway, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, will have access to it at the same time as China, according to Yin Weidong, CEO of developer SinoVac.

“We started the third phase of clinical trials in Brazil on 21 July, Indonesia on 1 August and Turkey on 16 September. We have also received approval for clinical trials in Bangladesh ... The first lots will be distributed on a priority basis in China, and in parallel in those countries with clinical trials, which are Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey,” Yin told reporters in Beijing.

The executive went on to say that the company is already building a manufacturing plant to boost production capacity of the vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, to around three million doses a year.

Yin declined Sputnik’s request to name the approximate cost of the prospective vaccine, saying that the price tag will depend on a large variety of factors.

SinoVac expects the vaccine will hit markets by the end of the year.

05:56 GMT 25.09.2020

The parade organizers of Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous annual carnival have announced that they will postpone festivities, which were scheduled to take place this coming February, due to the coronavirus disease outbreak, the head of the Independent League of Samba Schools, Jorge Castanheira, said Friday.

“Due to the lack of security and uncertainty among scientists on whether there will be a vaccine by February, we have decided that the event should be postponed. Samba schools do not have the time, money, and organizational capacity to make preparations by February,” Castanheira, said as quoted by Brazil’s G1 portal.

Should a safe and effective vaccine be created and distributed throughout Brazil, it may be possible to hold the parades at a later date, the league head remarked.

Rio de Janeiro’s carnival is traditionally held in the week before Lent, and the next edition of the event was scheduled to be held from 12-17 February. The last time the festivities were postponed was 1912, following the death of the country's then-foreign minister.

Brazil is currently battling one of the world’s most severe outbreaks of COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 4.6 million cases and 139,000 deaths have been registered in the South American country.

On Thursday, the country's public health authorities recorded in excess of 32,800 new positive tests for COVID-19 and 831 new fatalities due to complications from the disease.

04:39 GMT 25.09.2020

Moscow has registered 14 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 5,129, the city's coronavirus response centre said in a statement on Friday.

"Another 14 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the centre said.

In the previous day, 15 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

04:39 GMT 25.09.2020

India has confirmed 86,052 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours thus continuing to register the world's largest daily increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, with the total number of those infected having reached 5,818,570, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

The death toll from the disease has reached 92,290 people, with 1,141 new fatalities recorded over the past day. More than 4.75 million people have recovered in India 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 6.97 million COVID-19 patients.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 32.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 981,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.     

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