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The Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where a number of people related to the market fell ill with a virus, sits closed in Wuhan, China, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: WHO Says COVID Mission to China Was Not Investigation of Any Wrongdoing

The global death toll from the coronavirus infection has topped 2.399 million, while over 108.7 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.

Currently, the US (27.6 million infected, 485,000 deaths), India (10.9 million cases, 155,000 fatalities), and Brazil (9.8 million cases and a death toll of over 239,000) are among the most affected nations.

More than 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Follow Sputnik’s feed to find out more. 

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03:49 GMT 16.02.2021
Handout picture released by the Peruvian Presidency press office showing President Francisco Sagasti delivering a televised message to the nation regarding the new measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the patients care, and vaccination of the population in Lima on January 26, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Nearly 500 Peruvian Officials Got Vaccinated Against COVID-19 in Secret, President Says
03:03 GMT 16.02.2021
A vial containing Russian vaccine Sputnik V is shown by a nurse at the South Pest Central Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, as the vaccination with Sputnik V against the new coronavirus begins in the country. - Sputnik International, 1920
Palestinians Say Israel Preventing Russian Coronavirus Vaccine Deliveries to Gaza - Reports
02:38 GMT 16.02.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Weekly epidemic thresholds for the incidence of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI) have been exceeded in 12 Russian regions, Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

"In the sixth week of 2021, in terms of the entire population, weekly epidemic thresholds for ARVI incidence have been exceeded in 12 constituent entities [of the Russian Federation]," Rosbotrebnadzor said.

More than 85.9 million people (59 percent of the country's population) have already been vaccinated against influenza in Russia, it said.

02:00 GMT 16.02.2021

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Colombia begins vaccination against coronavirus ahead of schedule - February 17, President Ivan Duque said.

“With the arrival of the first batch of vaccines, we want to inform Colombians that the vaccination plan will begin on Wednesday, February 17,” Duque wrote on Twitter.

The campaign was previously scheduled to launch on February 20.

"The logistics of delivering [the vaccine to the regions] is ready, and we are moving towards the goal of immunizing 70% of the population," the president said.

00:10 GMT 16.02.2021

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - The first batch of coronavirus vaccine has arrived in Colombia, now the country can start a vaccination campaign, the country's Ministry of Health said in a statement.

"President Ivan Duque... is meeting the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will make it possible to start a national vaccination plan in the country," the ministry said on Twitter, where it broadcast the arrival of the aircraft with the vaccine.

The first batch consists of 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. A total of 1,650,000 doses will be supplied within three weeks.

20:26 GMT 15.02.2021

VIENNA (Sputnik) - Austrians could see more coronavirus restrictions lifted around Easter, which falls on April 4 this year, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Monday.

"Given the unpredictability of the situation, we will discuss further reopening in 14 days’ time… Judging from where we are now, further reopening can be expected to happen around Easter at the earliest. The decision will be made on March 1," he told a news conference.

Austria relies on mass testing and FFP2 respirator masks to contain the pandemic, Kurz said. Pharmacies will offer coronavirus tests free of charge starting March 1. The country expects to test a further 2 million people this week.

18:29 GMT 15.02.2021

An additional £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) of COVID-19 funding has been allocated to the semiautonomous Scottish government to support people, business and public services affected by the pandemic in Scotland, the UK government announced on Monday.

"The UK Government will continue to offer this support and to give the Scottish Government the resources and flexibility it needs to fulfil its responsibilities to the people of Scotland," Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury Steve Barclay said, as quoted in the official statement.

Barclay urged the Scottish government led by the Scottish National Party "to make the full and best use of this funding," which according to the statement takes the amount allocated to Scotland since the start of the pandemic to £9.7 billion ($13.5 billion) and can be spent now or carried over into the 2021/22 financial year.

The secretary of state for Scotland Alister Jack welcomed the announcement as "good news" that will provide further certainty to the Scottish government.

"The strength of the union and support offered by the UK Treasury has never been more important," he said.

Reacting to the announcement, a Scottish government spokesperson welcomed the additional funds, but complained about its timing, since it came more than a week after the setting of its budget.

"This funding is welcome, however late the notification at this point in the financial year, and we will set out to Parliament in the coming days our proposals for allocating these amounts as part of our on-going response to the coronavirus pandemic," the spokesperson said, as quoted by The Scotsman newspaper.

The UK central government is due to set its budget in March, but the Scottish Government’s budget was presented on 6 February.

18:19 GMT 15.02.2021

Moroccan authorities have decided to keep existing restrictions in effect for two more weeks amid the spread of new mutated coronavirus variants, media reported on Monday.

The extension of measures are set to go into effect on Tuesday, when the current measures were slated to end, the  MAP news agency reported, citing the government.

A curfew from 9 p.m. [20:00 GMT] to 6.00 a.m. local time, one of the restrictions to contain the COVID-19 virus, came into force on December 23, 2020.  Besides, authorities have banned celebrations, public and private gatherings, ordered closures of public facilities, including restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, and non-essential stores from 8 p.m. local time.

Earlier this month, the government extended the state of health emergency until March 10 as part of the coronavirus strategy.

The North African country has so far registered over 478,000 cases of COVID-19 infection altogether with 8,491 deaths, mostly registered in one wave of transmissions which peaked in November with over 6,000 cases in one day. Health authorities have been reporting between 300 and 500 cases over the past week.

16:59 GMT 15.02.2021
16:58 GMT 15.02.2021
16:12 GMT 15.02.2021
16:06 GMT 15.02.2021
A four-star general receives the Sinopharm vaccine from China during the first day of vaccinations against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Phnom Penh on February 10, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
First Cases of New Coronavirus Strain Found in Cambodia, Health Ministry Says
15:53 GMT 15.02.2021

Mutations of the British, South African and Brazilian strains of the coronavirus do not affect the efficacy of Russian EpiVacCorona, since other parts of the virus have been selected for the vaccine, Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed to analyze the efficacy of Russian vaccines against new strains of the coronavirus.

"The mutations characteristic of the new strains of coronavirus (British, South African, Brazilian) do not affect the epitopes selected for the EpiVacCorona peptide vaccine. The peptides that make up the vaccine are highly conservative," the statement says.

Rospotrebnadzor's Vector Centre is constantly tracking all mutations that could potentially affect the efficacy of the vaccine, the watchdog added.

15:40 GMT 15.02.2021
15:28 GMT 15.02.2021
15:10 GMT 15.02.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the situation in Syria and the Persian Gulf, the Kremlin said on monday.

"On the initiative of the Saudi side, a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, took place ... Regional issues were also touched upon, in particular, the situation in Syria and the Persian Gulf zone. It was agreed on contacts at various levels," the statement says.

The leaders also discussed the implementation of the OPEC+ deal, and expressed their intention to continue coordination for the stability of the energy market.

Putin and bin Salman also discussed the fight against the coronavirus, as well the possibility of using Russian vaccines in the kingdom, the Kremlin added.

13:36 GMT 15.02.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Italian police have temporarily shut down nightlife facilities in the wake of excessive gatherings of young people for Saint Valentine's Day in Rome despite coronavirus-related restrictions, the ANSA news agency reported on Monday.

According to the news agency, the police have fined some 40 people and ordered the closure of historic piazzas and other gathering sites over the weekend. Several bars were fined for serving alcohol after the 6 p.m. curfew.

Violations were also reported outside the capital. The police in the city of Rimini fined 29 people for breaching coronavirus-related rules and shut down several hotbeds of social gatherings.

13:28 GMT 15.02.2021
Empty vials of the Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine are pictured at the San Martin hospital, in La Plata, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina January 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
India May Approve Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine in Next Few Weeks, Ambassador Says
11:38 GMT 15.02.2021
11:05 GMT 15.02.2021
10:56 GMT 15.02.2021
10:29 GMT 15.02.2021

In-person learning has been resumed in Georgian schools nationwide starting from Monday, a spokesperson for the country's education ministry told Sputnik.

Schools have been operating online in Georgia since November 2020.

"On 15 February, in-person learning was resumed at all schools. All students will be able to attend classes. Schools will work strictly on the basis of special recommendations of the health ministry, in accordance with all the rules of sanitary and hygienic standards. Classrooms and entire buildings will be treated with a special disinfectant, and teachers will be systematically tested for the coronavirus," the spokesperson said.

All students from grade 5 and up are required to wear medical masks. Parents still have an option of online education for their children.

10:27 GMT 15.02.2021

Poland has ordered 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from different manufacturers, Michal Dworczyk, the Polish government's vaccination commissioner, told the RMF FM radio broadcaster on Monday.

"We have bought nearly 100 million doses of the vaccines that we will receive by the end of the current year in accordance with the manufacturers' promises," Dworczyk said.

The official added that the vaccination campaign in the country went as planned and about three million people would be inoculated before the end of March.

Since the producers promised to ramp up the vaccine deliveries in the second quarter of 2021, Poland expects to speed up the vaccination process, the commissioner said.

Poland is currently deploying the vaccine from three companies — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Over 2.4 million doses have already been delivered to the country.

To date, Poland has carried out more than two million inoculations. About 625,000 people have received two shots.

08:57 GMT 15.02.2021

Over 23,000 Indian health workers have received the second shot of a vaccine against COVID-19 and over 8.2 million citizens have received the first dose, the country's Health Ministry said on Monday.

According to Dr. N. Arora, a spokesman for the national task force on COVID-19 related initiatives, the vaccination rate is expected to increase this week.

On 16 January, India started its vaccination campaign, using the domestically-manufactured Covieshield vaccine, developed jointly by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the Oxford University, and homegrown Covaxin. The first wave of vaccinations, intended for health care and essential workers, is expected to cover some 30 million people. The second wave, inoculating people over the age of 50, may cover up to 270 million.

India, with about 1.4 billion people, ranks second in the world in the number of people infected with the coronavirus. The country has confirmed over 10.9 million COVID-19 cases, with 155,732 deaths, according to the latest data from the health ministry.

08:06 GMT 15.02.2021

Gujarat State Minister Vijay Rupani tested positive for COVID-19 today; yesterday he collapsed on stage while addressing a rally for the upcoming civic body polls in the city of Vadodara.

Rupani has been admitted to a hospital in the city of Gujarat in Ahmedabad.

08:00 GMT 15.02.2021

Russia registered 14,207 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, sightly up from 14,185 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,086,090, the coronavirus response centre said on Monday.

"Over the past day, 14,207 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 85 regions, including 1,559 cases (11 percent) that were detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 4,086,090, with the rate of increase at 0.35 percent.

Moscow confirmed 1,818 new coronavirus cases over the given period, up from 1,559 the day before. The Russian capital was followed by St. Petersburg with 1,093 new cases, down from 1,099 the day before, and the Moscow Region with 801 new cases, down from 828 on Sunday.

The response centre reported 394 COVID-19 fatalities, down from 430 the day before, raising the country's death toll to 80,520.

Total recoveries increased by 13,935 over the given period, down from 15,194 the day before, and totaled 3,607,036.

According to the national consumer health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 107.1 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 622,191 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring.

07:59 GMT 15.02.2021

As many as 40 percent of Peruvians are estimated to have contracted the coronavirus, an expert with the National Institute of Health (INS) told the Andina news agency.

"People who developed antibodies after infection represent 40% of 32 million Peruvians. This means that more than 12 million Peruvians have been infected with the novel coronavirus," infectious disease specialist Dr. Lely Solari said.

Peru has so far confirmed over 1.2 million COVID-19 cases, including 1.1 million recoveries and more than 43,000 deaths.

Solari explained that discrepancies between the true number of infections and confirmed cases exist across the world, as testing lags behind the virus spread.

07:53 GMT 15.02.2021

"As of 6.30, when I got my latest update, this is working smoothly, we've been working with the airports and with the border force to make sure everybody knows the process," Matt Hancock said.

07:29 GMT 15.02.2021

"The question is a judgement of how quickly and safely, how quickly we can do that safely. That's the judgment that we're making this week, looking at the data, ahead of the prime minister setting out the roadmap, on the 22nd," Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

07:13 GMT 15.02.2021
05:30 GMT 15.02.2021

The first 142,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the US' Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech pharmaceutical companies has arrived in Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday.

"The eagle has landed. I am pleased to be able to tell Australians that shortly after midday, the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived in Australia ... 142,000 doses have arrived in Australia," Hunt told reporters, as broadcast by ABC News.

The minister added that 60,000 more doses were expected to be delivered to the country by the end of the month.

Initially, the authorities will distribute 80,000 doses across the states, with 50,000 of them designed for medical workers and 30,000 for senior citizens.

The mass vaccination campaign in Australia will start on 22 February.

The Australian government expects a total of 20 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in 2021. It has also agreed with the AstraZeneca and Navavax pharmaceutical companies on the additional supplies of 20 million and 11 million doses of the manufacturers' COVID-19 vaccines, respectively.

So far, the country has confirmed nearly 28,900 cases of the coronavirus, including 909 fatalities. Over 40 cases are currently active.

05:17 GMT 15.02.2021

Kazakhstan has registered the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 that is produced at the Karaganda Pharmaceutical Complex, the enterprise announced on Monday.

"The Karaganda Pharmaceutical Complex has completed the procedure to register the Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V) vaccine against the coronavirus infection on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan," the pharmaceutical company said in a press release.

On 13 February, an expert organization of the Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare issued a report confirming vaccine safety and efficiency. After that, an application to obtain a registration certificate was submitted to the health ministry's committee for pharmaceutical control.

On 1 February, Kazakhstan started vaccinating citizens against the coronavirus with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. Meanwhile, domestic production with the use of Russian components was launched at the Karaganda Pharmaceutical Complex. Around 90,000 doses of the vaccine produced there are set to be distributed across all Kazakhstan's regions by the end of the month.

05:14 GMT 15.02.2021
04:32 GMT 15.02.2021
04:30 GMT 15.02.2021

"Ministers need to ensure there is adequate resource and effective processes at the border to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport, which could necessitate the suspension of some arriving flights," Heathrow Airport said in a statement.

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