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A lab assistant works on samples after an AP interview with Christian Drosten, director of the institute for virology of Berlin's Charite hospital on his researches on the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Germany Confirms 19,600 New Coronavirus Cases

The global COVID-19 tally is now over 91,500,000, and the death toll is at 1.96 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.

The United States remains the worst-hit nation amid the pandemic, with over 22.8 million infected, and a death toll of 380,000. It is followed by India (10.4 million cases, over 151,000 fatalities) and Brazil (over 8.1 million cases, more than 204,000 deaths).

In western Europe, the UK has the highest tally, with over 3 million infected and more than 81,500 deaths, as the country has been hit by a new coronavirus strain that resulted in a national lockdown. At the same time, Great Britain and other European countries have launched mass vaccination campaigns to stop the pandemic.

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02:58 GMT 14.01.2021

BEIJING (Sputnik) – China has confirmed the first death of the coronavirus within the past eight months, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The person died of COVID-19 in the province of Hubei, which is currently facing a new outbreak of the disease.

Within the past 24 hours, China has recorded 138 new COVID-19 cases, including 14 imported ones, and 78 asymptomatic patients. More than 80 new cases were registered in Hubei and 43 in the province of Heilongjiang.

In late 2019, the city of Wuhan in Hubei became an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which turned into a pandemic that claimed around 2 million lives across the world.

01:59 GMT 14.01.2021

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Colombian President Ivan Duque announced the extension of the selective isolation regime due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic until February 28 inclusive.

“We have been working under these conditions since September. We inform the country that the sanitary emergency is being extended until February 28,” the president said in a speech posted on his Twitter blog.

For the same period, the Colombian government is extending the selective isolation regime decree and related restrictions.

The regime of selective isolation, distancing and individual responsibility has been operating in Colombia since the beginning of September 2020. It aims to isolate people with suspected coronavirus or who have been in contact with sick people and allows others to move freely.

Over the past day, 15,898 new cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in the country (in total, since the beginning of the epidemic - 1,831,980), and 342 people died (overall, 47,124).

01:56 GMT 14.01.2021

SANTIAGO (Sputnik) – The Chilean Foreign Ministry has held an online conference with Russia's Gamaleya research institute to prepare an agreement on exchanging data on Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Chile told Sputnik.

"This week, the Chilean authorities and the Gamaleya research institute held a meeting to reach an agreement that will allow transferring information about the Sputnik V vaccine to the Chilean scientists," Denis Vinokurov said.

According to the Chilean Foreign Ministry, the conference was held on Monday and representatives of the Russian Direct  Investment Fund also took part in it.

Chile has already received the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine. The country also has agreements on deliveries of the vaccines developed by Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and via the World Health Organization's vaccine distribution mechanism COVAX.

23:20 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States has surpassed 23 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US case tally amounts to 23,029,450, with 383,939 deaths, the university said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

23:18 GMT 13.01.2021

ROME (Sputnik) – The Italian government has decided to prolong the emergency situation regime imposed over the coronavirus pandemic until April 30, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

The Council of Ministers introduced the emergency situation regime for six months on January 30. On July 31, the regime was extended until October 15, and in October, until January 31, 2021.

The emergency situation regime allows the national government to make any decisions on fighting the pandemic and overcoming its consequences without the parliament's approval, which is criticized by the opposition.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 92.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.97 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Italy has confirmed more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases so far, with over 80,000 fatalities.

23:01 GMT 13.01.2021

BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hasan has been hospitalized after testing positive for the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), Lebanese Al Jadeed TV reported, citing the country's Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, Hasan's condition is stable without complications at the moment.

Lebanon imposed general curfew for January 14-25 amid a new outbreak of COVID-19. It is prohibited to go outside and ride in vehicles. All public and private institutions are closed. Stores are allowed to work only in delivery mode until 5:00 p.m.

According to the latest data, 231,936 cases of infection have been confirmed in the country. Over the past day, 4,988 cases have been recorded.

22:59 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has caught COVID-19 and has been hospitalized, Colombian media reported.

The minister was sent to a hospital in the city of Barranquilla, the center of the northern department of Atlantico, the Tiempo newspaper reported on late Wednesday.

City Mayor Jaime Pumarejo said that Trujillo was in a non-life-threatening condition.

Trujillo became the second minister of Colombia infected with the coronavirus, following Foreign Minister Claudia Blum.

19:27 GMT 13.01.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The first of the two-dose coronavirus vaccines have been administered to 10.3 million people in the United States, about one third of the total made available thus far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on its COVID-19 Data Tracker website on Wednesday.

The site tallied 29,380,125 doses distributed to US states and territories thus far with shots given to 10,278,462 thus far, the CDC said.

The vaccine effort lags behind predictions by the Trump administration in November 2020 that 20 million people would receive inoculations in December followed by 25-to-30 million each month thereafter.

Two vaccines approved by the US authorities thus far - by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna - require a second dose several weeks later to achieve a 95 percent immunity claimed by both vaccine makers

The slow rollout prompted the United States this week to expand eligibility from an initial cadre of nursing home residents and healthcare workers to everyone age 65 and over in an attempt to speed things up.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to vaccinate a million people daily during his first 100 days in office.

19:26 GMT 13.01.2021

MADRID (Sputnik) - Portugal introduces strict nationwide quarantine, similar to the one that was in effect in March and April 2020, Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced.

He recalled that the number of infections in the country is growing, it is necessary to "bend the curve, save lives, save the healthcare system."

"This morning, parliament extended the state of emergency until January 30," the prime minister said, noting that residents of the country should return to a strict quarantine, similar to the one in effect in March and April.

"Each of us should stay at home," he said.

Residents of the country should work remotely whenever possible, Costa said. However, at the same time, schools will remain open. Educational institutions were the main stumbling block in the discussion in the government.

Fines for violation of quarantine measures will be increased.

The epidemiological situation in a country with a population of about 10 million remains extremely difficult. Over the past day, 156 people have died, the largest one-day death toll since the beginning of the epidemic.

17:52 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The pandemic undermined human rights in the European Union, exacerbating discrimination of sexual, religious and ethnic minorities and shutting borders to refugees, a rights pressure group said Wednesday.

In the 761-page World Report 2021, Human Rights Watch assessed the human rights situation in 100 countries, including the 27-nation bloc, the United Kingdom and aspiring EU nations.

"It’s been a challenging year for rights protection in the EU, with a public health and economic crisis triggered by Covid 19 and some member states sliding deeper toward authoritarian rule," HRW Deputy Europe director Benjamin Ward said.

The impact of lockdowns and recession was felt disproportionately by people living on low incomes or in poverty. Homeless people, Roma and migrants in crowded reception facilities faced increased health risks.

The EU’s efforts to push Poland and Hungary to abide by its values were stymied by its reliance on their support for the common coronavirus recovery fund, HRW stressed. The bloc was forced to pass the budget and relief package with watered-down guarantees.

The two countries also continued their anti-LGBT drive, threatening the rights of sexual and gender minorities and women’s reproductive rights.

HRW called on the bloc and its member states to uphold "fundamental rights, stand up consistently for democratic institutions, and take positive steps to tackle deepening inequalities and abuses against migrants and minorities."

17:51 GMT 13.01.2021
17:49 GMT 13.01.2021

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - More than 21 percent of the Israeli population has been vaccinated against the new coronavirus, according to figures shared Wednesday by the spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We have crossed today the 2 million threshold in vaccinating our citizens. It's a huge achievement," Ofir Gendelman tweeted.

The nation of almost 9.3 million began the vaccine rollout on December 20 by injecting health workers, care home staff and government officials to lead the campaign by example.

Netanyahu, 71, was among the first to get a shot in December followed by a second one over the weekend. Israel plans to vaccinate 170,000 people a day from Thursday, in a bid to speed up the return to normal.

17:10 GMT 13.01.2021

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio renewed his call on Wednesday for a ban on UK flights into the United States after more US states reported cases of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

"We need a travel ban immediately again,” de Blasio told a live-streamed briefing. “There's federal action on ensuring that anyone who gets on a plane has a negative test. But in the case of the UK, that's literally not enough. We need those flights canceled and we need to [have a] travel ban until the situation is greatly improved."

De Blasio called for a UK travel ban last week after the first case of the coronavirus variant, known as B.1.1.7, surfaced in New York. Since then, the variant, more transmissible than the original COVID-19 and triggering new lockdowns in Europe, has been detected in at least 10 US states.

Besides the B.1.1.7, researchers in Ohio said they have discovered two other variants of the coronavirus that likely originated in the United States, and that one quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, the state’s capital, over a three-week period in late December and early January.

New York City, along with the state of New York, were the biggest COVID-19 hotspots at the height of the pandemic’s breakout in the first half of 2020.

At the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in April, New York state had about 18,000 people in hospitals and there were roughly 800 people dying a day from complications caused by the virus. On Tuesday, there were 8,926 COVID-related hospitalizations in the state and 164 deaths of those infected.

16:12 GMT 13.01.2021
16:10 GMT 13.01.2021
15:21 GMT 13.01.2021

HELSINKI (Sputnik) - The first batch of the vaccine against the coronavirus developed by US pharmaceutical company Moderna, consisting of 1,200 doses to vaccinate 600 people, was delivered to Estonia, Deputy Secretary General on Health Maris Jesse said on Wednesday.

"It [the first batch of vaccine] has 1,200 doses that can be used to vaccinate 600 people," Jesse said, as quoted by the press service of the ministry of social affairs.

Jesse said that the delivery of the first batch to Estonia was important because this would help provide more people with the vaccine, adding that according to updated information, Estonia would receive 2,400 doses in January and 14,400 doses were expected to arrive in February.

On Saturday, the country’s ministry of social affairs said that more than 10,000 people in Estonia have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, of which the government has reserved over 600,000 doses in total.

Bulgaria was another European country that received the Moderna shots on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said that the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna was delivered to Bulgaria, as cited by the Bulgarian national radio.

The government has ordered 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, the main part of which is expected to be delivered to Bulgaria in April and May. The first batch of 2,400 doses has already been delivered.

15:15 GMT 13.01.2021

BEIJING (Sputnik) - Wang Bin, an official with the Chinese National Health Commission, on Wednesday called on the country’s citizens to avoid unnecessary travel during the Lunar New Year festival to prevent worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Lunar New Year falls on February 12 this year, and the 40-day Spring Festival to celebrate it, known locally as Chunjie, starts on January 28.

"I want to take this opportunity and, via the media, urge residents of the country to try not to make trips that are not absolutely necessary," Wang said, adding that people should wear masks, avoid mass gatherings and adhere to social distancing measures in case if they decide to travel during festivities.

The health official added that the authorities expect that the number of Chinese citizens wishing to return to their home country from abroad may increase during the festive season.

Wang also called on citizens to visit the nearest health center in case they show COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, Feng Zijian, the deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the government developed necessary measures to prevent new outbreaks during the Spring Festival which increases the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

"To respond to these risks, the government already developed measures to prevent the epidemic for the winter and spring, in order to prevent the epidemic from spreading again. When these measures are implemented, it can be ensured that a new large-scale wave of the epidemic does not arise," Feng said at a press conference.

According to Feng, local outbreaks and isolated COVID-19 cases in China are a consequence of the worsening global pandemic.

China on Wednesday confirmed 115 COVID-19 cases, the biggest rise since late July, and the majority of infections are linked to an outbreak in the northern Hebei province near Beijing. The authorities responded by introducing lockdown in parts of the province.

Feng said that China gathered a lot of knowledge about COVID-19 during the year of the fight against the pandemic and focuses on immediate detection and control of cases. The health official added that the Spring Festival will be "a big test" for China’s COVID-19 response measures.

14:53 GMT 13.01.2021
13:03 GMT 13.01.2021
12:23 GMT 13.01.2021

Belgium will admit back 20 soldiers deployed to Niger through military operation New Nero as they tested positive for the coronavirus, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

"About 20 soldiers positive for COVID-19 will be repatriated from Niger (Maradi) where they have been since October as part of the bilateral operation New Nero. As a precautionary measure, around 30 soldiers exposed to high-risk contacts will also return to Belgium," the ministry's statement read.

The statement specified that the next military delegation is scheduled to arrive on the site later in January.

12:13 GMT 13.01.2021
12:12 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom's coronavirus vaccination centers will switch to working round the clock as soon as possible, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday.

"We'll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can," Johnson told the parliament in a televised PMQs session.

12:09 GMT 13.01.2021
12:06 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia's regions will receive around 600,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the period between January 11 and January 14, deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said on Wednesday.

"Within three days, from January 11-14, territorial entities of the Russian Federation will receive around 600,000 more doses of the vaccine. Effort to boost production and deliveries to the regions will continue," Golikova said at talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

11:27 GMT 13.01.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia is following the coronavirus surge in the United Kingdom with concern and communicating with its European colleagues, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

"We see what is happening in some countries, for instance, in the United Kingdom, we are watching that with concern. We are in touch with our European colleagues about that," Putin said at a meeting with the cabinet.

The president remarked on the decrease in incidence in Russia but warned against relaxing too soon.

"We can see that the world, in general, has been unable to quench this disease so far, has been unable to prevent all of its negative consequences. But we, of course, are interested in what is going on in Russia, first and foremost," Putin said.

11:26 GMT 13.01.2021

"When all parameters are simultaneously deteriorating, we are obligated to take new measures. The government considers it inevitable to extend the state of emergency until 30 April", Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, speaking in the chamber of deputies of the national parliament while presenting a report on the situation.

11:14 GMT 13.01.2021

"My colleagues have identified the UK virus variant, already found in neighbouring countries, in the samples of three patients. It was obvious that Hungary would not be able to avoid this variant either," Surgeon General Cecilia Muller said on Wednesday.

10:26 GMT 13.01.2021

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who earlier in the day expanded the coronavirus-related state of emergency to seven more prefectures, has announced that the country was halting the entry of all non-resident foreign nationals amid the continuing spike in new cases, Kyodo news agency reported.

The measure will expire on 7 February, on the last day of the state of emergency, Suga reportedly said at a press conference.

In December, Japan halted foreign entries, other than business trips and students from Taiwan and 10 Asian countries. Mere days earlier, Suga assured these exemptions would remain in place.

However, lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party reportedly kept pushing for abandoning the exemptions, which they see as contradictory.

09:51 GMT 13.01.2021
09:49 GMT 13.01.2021

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in seven more prefectures, expanding the measure beyond Tokyo, where the state of emergency was introduced last week amid a new surge in coronavirus infections, Kyodo news agency reported.

The seven prefectures are Osaka, Aichi, Tochigi, Gifu, Hyogo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.

This means that a total of 11 prefectures, where over 50 percent of the Japanese population are concentrated, are now under a state of emergency, which will expire on 7 February.

08:22 GMT 13.01.2021
07:48 GMT 13.01.2021
06:37 GMT 13.01.2021
05:36 GMT 13.01.2021
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