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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) arrive to attend the wedding of Britain's Princess Eugenie of York to Jack Brooksbank at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on October 12, 2018. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: UK's Queen Elizabeth and Her Husband Vaccinated Against COVID, Buckingham Palace Says

The global tally of the coronavirus infection cases has exceeded 88.8 million, while the death toll is over 1.9 million and the number of recovered patients is 49.3 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

Currently, among the most affected nations are the US (21.8 million infected, 368,000 deaths), India (10.4 million cases, 150,000 fatalities), and Brazil (8 million cases and a death toll of over 201,000).

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01:29 GMT 10.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow-based NYT correspondent Andrew Kramer got vaccinated with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine and described it as a genuine feat by the country's scientists.

In his article, published in the New York Times newspaper, Kramer mentioned having doubts about whether or not to get inoculated since the vaccine had been approved for use before the end of the last stage of its clinical trials.

Nevertheless, Kramer went on to note the vaccine's good trial results, admitting that this seems to be a real accomplishment for Russian scientists.

The reporter also noted the Russian vaccination campaign was not marred by long lines or logistical blunders, in contrast with the United States and other countries.

22:22 GMT 09.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of COVID-19 fatalities in the United States has surpassed 370,000, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.

Per the university's data, the current US death toll stands at 371,616, while the country's total of confirmed cases has reached 22,060,588.

The university COVID-19 database shows that overall tally of more than 89.3 million confirmed cases across the globe, including 1,921,952 fatalities.

19:14 GMT 09.01.2021
17:28 GMT 09.01.2021

More than 10,000 people in Estonia have received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the country’s Ministry of Social Affairs said Saturday.

“In the first two weeks, 10,197 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Estonia with the first dose of vaccine. Vaccinations have been performed in a total of one hundred health care and welfare institutions across Estonia,” the ministry said in a posy on its website.

Over 100 health care institutions have administered the vaccines, including 71 family medicine centers and 21 hospitals, the ministry said.

Although the vaccine deliveries have been slower than expected, about 30 percent of nursing home residents and priority staff have now been vaccinated, Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik said in the statement.

Two shipments of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on either side of the New Year delivered 9,750 doses of the vaccine each, according to the government's data. Overall, the government has reserved over 600,000 doses of the vaccine.

Kiik had earlier said that the country expects to receive some 30,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in the first quarter of 2021, while larger quantities will be delivered in the second half of the year.

16:47 GMT 09.01.2021

"I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine...It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others," the Pope said in an interview with TV station Canale 5.

The Vatican City has said it will start its own COVID vaccination campaign.

"Next week we will start doing it here, in the Vatican, and I have booked myself in. It must be done", the pontiff said.

16:13 GMT 09.01.2021
15:04 GMT 09.01.2021

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, have received COVID-19 vaccinations, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.

"The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have today received Covid-19 vaccinations,” a spokesperson said.

The UK monarchs received the shots in the Windsor castle where they are spending the national lockdown.

Queen Elizabeth, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, are part of the high-priority risk group of people aged over 80 that are in line to receive shots.

This makes the queen and the regent part of the nearly 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom to have received their first doses of the vaccine.

14:43 GMT 09.01.2021

Iran has developed a four-phased strategy of the nationwide vaccination against COVID-19, with frontline medical workers and disabled people being among the first to get a domestic vaccine when it would be produced, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday.

"When we have the vaccine, around 1.3 million people — frontline health workers and disabled persons — will be involved in the first phase of the vaccination," Rouhani told a meeting of the national coronavirus task force.

The second group will include about 12 million individuals — people with co-existing health problems and those aged over 65, according to the force's spokesman, Alireza Raisi.

A further 19 million people will be involved in the third stage of the vaccination process, Rouhani added. The fourth phase is set to be applied for the rest of the population.

According to media reports, Rouhani also said that his administration would not permit foreign vaccines against COVID-19 from being tested on Iranians.

Iran is currently working on development of COVID-19 vaccines. As health ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur said, the country expects the first vaccine to be ready by the spring, and another two-three by the summer.

Iran also considers an option to purchase vaccines manufactured by other countries, except for the UK and US-made vaccines as they were banned by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Friday. The Iranian Ministry of Health earlier expressed its interest in Russian COVID-19 vaccines, including Sputnik V. On January 3, a source from the Iranian embassy in Moscow said that deputy health ministers from both Iran and Russia would soon meet to discuss cooperation on a COVID-19 vaccine.

13:22 GMT 09.01.2021
13:19 GMT 09.01.2021

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran has increased by 5,924, raising the tally to 1,280,438, the country's health ministry reported.

There were also 82 new COVID-related fatalities confirmed in Iran, bringing the death toll to 56,100, the ministry added. 

12:33 GMT 09.01.2021

The authorities of two Chinese cities located in the Hebei province have called on citizens not to leave their houses for a week in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 following a new outbreak of the disease.

At the beginning of the year, fresh outbreaks of the coronavirus disease were registered in several districts of Beijing, and in the cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai in the province of Hebei that surrounds the Chinese capital.

From January 2-8, Hebei’s health officials confirmed 137 cases of the coronavirus and detected 197 asymptomatic carriers in the province. Around 4,000 people, who were in close contact with the infected individuals, have been put under quarantine.

Late on Friday, the authorities of the two cities announced the completion of testing of their entire population for COVID-19 and issued statements calling on the citizens to stay at home for seven days, not leave their neighborhoods without any special need and not to gather in crowds.

Among other things, operation of all public transport was suspended in Shijiazhuang starting Saturday morning.

According to open sources, Shijiazhuang, which is situated around 300 kilometers (186,4 miles) southwest of Beijing, has a population of about 11 million, while the population of Xingtai amounts to around 7 million.

As of now, China has registered 96,562 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

12:20 GMT 09.01.2021

Chinese nationals will receive COVID-19 shots free of charge, and everyone will have access to them once risk groups get vaccinated, Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission, said on Saturday.

"During the coronavirus vaccination phase for key groups [risk groups], launched on December 15, 2020, governments at all levels guarantee to cover and distribute expenses to promote the COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals do not bear the cost of the vaccine and vaccination," Zeng told a briefing.

He added that there had been cases of individuals being charged for vaccination. An order has since been issued to promptly address such situations.

Li Tao, deputy head of the state medical insurance administration, in turn, noted that all vaccination-related expenses would be incurred by the medical insurance foundation and other relevant institutions.

As part of the first stage of the vaccination in China, customs officers, health care workers, as well as employees whose work is related to imported frozen products, sea and air transportation, seafood markets and public transport are the first in line to receive shots. Individuals who are set to go to work or study in virus-hit countries will also promptly receive an opportunity to get vaccinated.

At the second stage, when a vaccine enters the market and production volumes increase, more population groups will get access to shots.

11:11 GMT 09.01.2021

The Japanese prefectures of Miyazaki and Gifu on Saturday independently imposed a state of emergency due to a continued rise in COVID-19 cases.

The day prior, the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki announced that it had recorded 105 new cases of the coronavirus. In comparison with Tokyo's figures, where the authorities register over 2,000 cases per day, Miyazaki’s numbers appear to be insignificant. However, the spread of COVID-19 in Miyazaki is comparable to the one in the capital in terms of population.

"All districts of the prefecture are now struck by an explosive spread of the disease. We are face to face with a historical crisis," the Miyazaki authorities said in an address to the population.

The authorities have urged people to stay at home if there is no educational or professional need to commute, work remotely if possible, not to travel outside the prefecture and not to hold events and meetings with more than four persons present.

Along with Miyazaki, another Japan's prefecture — Gifu — also declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 from January 9 until February 7.

"There is a high risk of a severe course of the disease among elderly people. The COVID-19-related mortality in Gifu amounts to 1.5 percent, while among people aged over 70 it is 10.5 percent. The state of emergency is introduced for a month beginning on January 9 until February 7 in a bid to reach no more than 50 cases of the disease per day at the end of this period," Gifu’s administration said in a statement.

In addition, a further three prefectures — Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo — on Saturday called upon the country's government to impose a state of emergency on their territory over a continued increase in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier in the week, Japan declared a state of emergency until February 7 in the prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

A nationwide state of emergency was declared in Japan in early April and was lifted on May 25.

To date, Japan has confirmed 281,072 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. On Friday, the country registered 7,882 new COVID-19 cases.

10:58 GMT 09.01.2021
09:33 GMT 09.01.2021

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to help the nation to accelerate the shipment of 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine produced in India, media reported.

"To ensure the immediate implementation of our national immunization program, I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to count on Your Excellency's good offices in accelerating the delivery of 2 million doses of the vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India to Brazil, with possible urgency and without prejudice to the Indian vaccination campaign," the letter, published by the G1 news outlet on Friday, read.

According to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the country expects the arrival of 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is manufactured in India by the Serum Institute and known there as Covishield, in January.

09:09 GMT 09.01.2021
08:50 GMT 09.01.2021

Saudi Arabia will keep its borders shut for international travel amid the global spread of a new coronavirus variant until 31 March, state media have reported, citing the interior ministry.

The kingdom will allow its citizens to travel abroad and return home and will reopen all sea and air ports, as well as land borders only in late March, the Spa news agency said on Friday.

In late December, Riyadh halted international flights and closed sea and land border crossings for two weeks due to the new faster-spreading coronavirus mutation detected in a number of countries.

The Gulf country has so far confirmed over 363,500 COVID-19 cases, including more than 355,00 recoveries and 6,282 deaths. The daily increase in infections has dropped to less than 100.

08:49 GMT 09.01.2021

Mexico's health regulator Cofepris has given a go-ahead to phase 3 trials for the German CureVac COVID-19 vaccine in the country, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard has said.

"Cofepris has approved launching phase 3 of the German CureVac vaccine in our country, very good news!" Ebrard wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Mexico is planning to have medics and everyone over 60 years old get vaccinated by late January and late March, respectively.

Currently, Mexico has a contract with Pfizer/BioNTech, whose first vaccine batches were delivered to the country in late December, and also expects shipments of China’s CanSino vaccine.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said earlier in the week that he was not ruling out procuring Russia’s Sputnik V, noting that the vaccine, which has also been rolled out in Argentina, was showing good results.

08:27 GMT 09.01.2021
08:17 GMT 09.01.2021
08:16 GMT 09.01.2021

Russia has registered 23,309 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 23,652 the day before, taking the tally to 3,379,103, the coronavirus response centre said on Saturday.

"Over the past day, 23,309 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 2,759 cases (11.8 percent) that were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the centre said.

The highest daily increases were confirmed in Moscow (4,900), St. Petersburg (3,006) and the Moscow Region (1,184).

Russia's cumulative case count has now reached 3,379,103, with the rate of increase at 0.7 percent.

The death toll has totaled 61,381, with an increase of 470 over the past 24 hours, up from 454 the day before.

Total recoveries count 2,754,809 as 23,680 more people have been discharged from hospitals over the past day, up from 21,677 the day before.

07:30 GMT 09.01.2021
07:15 GMT 09.01.2021
06:43 GMT 09.01.2021
04:32 GMT 09.01.2021
04:31 GMT 09.01.2021
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