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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada December 11, 2020. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Canada PM Trudeau Says First Batch of Pfizer/Biontech Vaccines Have Arrived in Canada

The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 1.604 million, over 71.6 million cases of the infection have been detected, and over 46.8 million have recovered, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

Over 230,000 new cases were recorded in the United States over the past day, once more setting a new record. The previous record was on 5 December with over 227,000 cases, while Saturday's tally came to 231,775. A total of 3,309 patients have died from the disease and related complications in the US over the course of 24 hours alone, more people than in every terrorist attack committed on US soil in modern history.

In Brazil, the number of confirmed cases has increased by 53,030 to 6,880,127. The number of people who have died of the coronavirus risen by 646 to bring the total death toll to 181,123.

The death toll from the disease in India has reached 142,628 people, with the total number of those infected having reached 9,826,775. A day earlier, India confirmed 29,398 new COVID-19 cases and 414 new fatalities.

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03:42 GMT 14.12.2020
03:38 GMT 14.12.2020
01:33 GMT 14.12.2020

The first batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

"The first batch of doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Canada," Trudeau said on Twitter on Sunday.

On Thursday, Canada’s prime minister said that the first 30,000 doses of the vaccine were expected in a matter of days.

Earlier in the week, health regulators granted emergency authorization to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

According to Trudeau, the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine.

Canada is expected to receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine before the end of December, which will allow up to 124,500 Canadians to be vaccinated before the end of the year.

Public health officials say the plan is to vaccinate 40 to 50 percent of Canadians by next summer and complete the COVID-19 immunization program by September 30, 2021.

01:08 GMT 14.12.2020
00:31 GMT 14.12.2020
22:20 GMT 13.12.2020

Prime Minister of Eswatini (Swaziland) Ambrose Dlamini, 52, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19, has died at a hospital, the country’s government informed in a statement.

"Their Majesties have commanded that I inform the nation of the sad and untimely passing away of His Excellency the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini," Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku said in a statement, released on the official Facebook page of the Eswatini government on Sunday.

Dlamini was hospitalized with COVID-19 in South Africa earlier this month.

"His excellency passed on this afternoon while under medical care in a hospital in South Africa," the Sunday government statement says.

Dlamini announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in November.

Eswatini has a total of over 6,760 confirmed coronavirus cases and the country’s COVID-19 death toll stands at over 120, according to health ministry data.

22:06 GMT 13.12.2020
21:57 GMT 13.12.2020
21:11 GMT 13.12.2020

Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has given his approval to the use of a vaccine against COVID-19 produced by Pfizer and BioNTech in persons aged 16 years and above from Monday, according to a statement carried by the organization on Sunday.

"Last night, I was proud to sign the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation to use Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 and older … Initial COVID-19 vaccination is set to start as early as Monday, and this is the next step in our efforts to protect Americans, reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and help restore some normalcy to our lives and our country," Redfield's statement read.

The CDC's approval comes two days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its authorization for the emergency use of the vaccine produced by the US pharmaceutical giant and German biotech firm.

The first shipments of vaccines are expected to arrive at distribution centers across the United States on Monday, Gen. Gustave Perna, the logistical chief for the Operation Warp Speed vaccine initiative, said on Saturday.

US-based pharmaceutical firm Moderna has also applied for FDA emergency use approval for its candidate vaccine against the coronavirus disease that has performed well in clinical trials.

20:06 GMT 13.12.2020

Moscow has registered 75 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 9,945, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Sunday.

"Another 75 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.

In the previous day, 72 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

18:38 GMT 13.12.2020
18:35 GMT 13.12.2020

Iran is continuing to register a decrease in the number of daily COVID-19 infections, with 7,451 new cases registered over the past 24 hours, Iranian Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Sunday.

During an appearance on the IRINN broadcaster, the spokeswoman noted that the total number of COVID-19 cases in Iran reached 1,108,269.

According to Sadat Lari, 247 people have died from the infection over the past day, with the country's death toll increasing to 52,196.

The spokeswoman added that at least 812,270 Iranians recovered from the infection.

On November 21, Iran introduced a new COVID-19 response plan, which envisions dividing the country according to the infection rate into orange, yellow and red zones, and the imposition of different restrictions, including a curfew. On November 28, Iran reported 14,051 new daily infections that was the highest daily spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. After that, the spread of the infection started to slow down. According to Johns Hopkins University, Iran confirmed 9,594 new cases on Saturday.

18:32 GMT 13.12.2020

The US has registered 2,283 new coronavirus fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 296,818, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Sunday.

17:01 GMT 13.12.2020

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday that he instructed officials from the country's health and science ministries to secure deals with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers for enough doses to inoculate up to 70 percent of the population.

"I have instructed MoH [Ministry of Health] and Mosti [Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation] to negotiate for more vaccines, enough for 60 to 70 per cent of the population as recommended by MoH," the prime minister said, as quoted by Malaysia's New Straits Times newspaper.

According to the prime minister, deals are currently in place for enough doses to vaccinate 30 percent of Malaysia's population, the newspaper said.

Malaysia has already secured a deal with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to purchase 12.8 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which has been produced in conjunction with German firm BioNTech. Further doses are expected through the COVAX Facility, which is co-led by the World Health Organization.

On Sunday, public health officials in Malaysia registered 1,229 new positive tests for the coronavirus disease, taking the country's case total up to 83,475.

14:50 GMT 13.12.2020

Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli minister of health, said on Sunday that the country's mass COVID-19 vaccination program may begin earlier than the proposed December 27 start date.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously stated that Israel will begin vaccinating up to 60,000 people a day from December 27. However, during a visit to an inoculation center established by the Maccabi health fund group on Sunday, Edelstein said that vaccinations may begin sooner.

"I have seen the advanced preparations here. Vaccinations may start earlier, maybe we can start vaccinating medical teams from next week," Edelstein told reporters.

Earlier this week, the first doses of a vaccine against COVID-19 produced by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech arrived in Israel. In total, the Israeli government has signed a deal for 8 million doses of the vaccine, which is already being used in the United Kingdom.

Israel has also concluded deals with other manufacturers, including the US firm Moderna, for other candidate vaccines. On November 1, clinical trials for Israel's domestically produced vaccine against the coronavirus disease began.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 356,000 positive tests for COVID-19 have been registered in Israel, resulting in the deaths of 2,990 people.

14:42 GMT 13.12.2020

US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn has denied claims by President Donald Trump that the vaccine could have been available a week sooner.

"We do not feel that this could have been out a week earlier," Hahn told ABC's "This Week".

He also noted that he felt "very confident" about the decisions the agency made.

14:37 GMT 13.12.2020

Current global events, which are taking place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, constitute an "unprecedented" emergency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

"It is an unprecedented, nonstandard emergency, summing it up," Peskov remarked during an appearance on the Russia-1 broadcaster.

Speaking on Friday, Peskov confirmed that the Russian government currently has no plans to introduce a nationwide lockdown as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.

13:04 GMT 13.12.2020
12:26 GMT 13.12.2020
12:25 GMT 13.12.2020

The COVID-19 patient zero, who launched the infection dissemination in Russia, has been detected, he emerged on 1 March, and by 17 March, Russia already registered 100 cases, Russian public health chief Anna Popova said on Sunday.

"Yes, of course, we know [the first carrier], he emerged here literally on 1 March, and by 17 March we already had 100 cases. Now we are already talking about [the person] who was already disseminating the infection," Popova said in an appearance on the Rossiya 1 TV channel.

Popova noted, however, that Russia's first three confirmed cases that were imported from China had not triggered the dissemination of the infection.

11:47 GMT 13.12.2020
11:34 GMT 13.12.2020

 "My message to everybody is we do have this period of relaxation of measures at Christmas, but I really urge people to think hard about how you choose to enjoy that relaxation. I really would urge people to err on the side of caution rather than, I'm afraid, have a big blow-out with multiple households," Boris Johnson said.

11:06 GMT 13.12.2020

Vaccination against coronavirus in Germany and the European Union will start a few days after a vaccine is authorized by the regulator, which is expected around the end of December, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

"We have the European Medicines Agency [to assess the vaccine safety], we want this to be done thoroughly, without political pressure. The EMA said that the decision on the vaccine approval will be made before December 29, today is December 13, so we have to wait a bit. It is possible that this will happen a little earlier, but no later than December 29. Delivery to all European countries will begin immediately after that and there will be an opportunity to start vaccination in January," Merkel said following consultations with heads of German regions.

According to the chancellor, "vaccination will begin a few days after the approval."

10:52 GMT 13.12.2020
10:23 GMT 13.12.2020

Authorities in Germany have agreed on toughening the coronavirus-related restrictions ahead of the Christmas season until January 10, closing all non-essential businesses and banning alcohol consumption in public sites, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

"We agreed that regional provisions [on the toughening of restrictions] will be in effect until January 10. With regard to contact restrictions, gatherings are allowed among up to five people belonging to two households. Exemptions will apply from December 24-26, but not for the New Year's," Merkel said following consultations with heads of German regions.

As stated by the chancellor, beginning on Wednesday, all retail stores except for grocery stores and stores trading essential goods will have to close. Beauty industry businesses will also be closed.

"We urge employers to make arrangements for remote work," Merkel said.

The German authorities banned the sale and consumption of alcohol and food in public places, such as traditional Christmas markets where Germans usually gather this time a year to enjoy beer, mulled wine and a variety of snacks.

09:17 GMT 13.12.2020
08:49 GMT 13.12.2020
08:12 GMT 13.12.2020

Russia's coronavirus tally has increased by 28,080 cases recorded over the past 24 hours, the government's coronavirus response centre said in an update on Sunday.

Russia's daily increase in the number of cases on Saturday was also above 28,000.

"Over the past day, 28,080 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 5,494 cases (19.6 percent) without clinical symptoms," the centre said.

The highest local daily increases were confirmed in Moscow (6,425), St. Petersburg (3,768) and the Moscow Region (1,444), as stated in the update.

Russia's cumulative case count has now reached 2,653,928 cases, with the rate of increase at 1.1 percent, according to the centre.

The death toll has reached 46,941, with an increase of 488 over the past day, down from 560 from the day before. The majority of new coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed in Moscow (72), St.Petersburg (67), and the Moscow Region (31).

Total recoveries count 2,106,235 after 20,277 more people were discharged from hospitals over the past day, down from 26,118 from the day before.

07:46 GMT 13.12.2020
07:10 GMT 13.12.2020
07:00 GMT 13.12.2020

More than 1,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in South Korea over the past day, which is the highest ever daily increase for the Asian country, South Korean media reported on Sunday, citing the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

According to the KDCA daily update, as cited by the Yonhap news agency, 1,030 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the past day, up from 950 cases from the day before, most of them in Seoul and its outskirts.

South Korea's cumulative COVID-19 tally has now reached 42,766 cases, the update read.

The death toll has increased by two new cases to a total of 580 fatalities. Recoveries count 31,814, including 321 people who were released from quarantine over the past day.

According to the report, the continuous surge in infections is a consequence of emergence of new clusters as a result of private gatherings and mass assembly in a church and a hospital in Seoul.

Earlier this week, the South Korean authorities increased the social distancing restrictions to the second-highest level in a five-level system. The news agency opined that the continuous spread of the disease might prompt the authorities to toughen up the restrictions even further.

06:20 GMT 13.12.2020
06:04 GMT 13.12.2020
04:52 GMT 13.12.2020
04:43 GMT 13.12.2020
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