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Family doctor Elke Happich prepares a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to vaccinate patients at their homes in Cologne, Germany - Sputnik International

Live Updates: COVID Surge in Europe 'Worrying', While Vaccine Rollout 'Unacceptably Slow', WHO Says

The overall number of infected across the world is now over 128 million cases, with the global death toll from the pandemic now having reached 2.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US is the most affected nation, with around 30.5 million cases of coronavirus, while over 552,000 people have died from the infection. It is followed by Brazil with around 12.7 million cases and a death toll of over 321,000.

India currently has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases (12 million infected and over 162,000 deaths), while Mexico has the third-highest death toll in the world - over 203,000 fatalities, with around 2.2 million cases having been detected in the country.

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03:20 GMT 02.04.2021
03:01 GMT 02.04.2021
22:34 GMT 01.04.2021

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canada’s shipment from the Serum Institute of their version of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine is on hold for an undetermined period of time, a Public Services and Procurement Canada official said.

The delay comes after India announced a temporary hold on vaccine exports, as New Delhi concentrates on immunization at home due to a spike in domestic cases.

“We are working with the company on determining when the doses will arrive. We are expecting a delay in the shipment,” Joelle Paquette told reporters on Thursday. “We do not have the information [about] when we’re going to get the doses.”

Paquette, however, noted Canada received assurances from the Serum Institute that they are committed to meeting their contractual obligations. Per the terms of a contract signed in February, Canada is set to receive an additional 1.5 million vaccine doses from the company by mid-May, in addition to the 500,000 doses received last month.

22:16 GMT 01.04.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine supplier Emergent BioSolutions said in a statement that it acknowledges it botched a batch of vaccines but it remains confident in its ability to meet the US government safety requirements and standards.

The statement comes a day after Johnson & Johnson reported on Wednesday that it found 15 million doses of vaccines to be unusable due to a human error in a Emergent Biosolutions’ plant in the city of Baltimore.

"A single batch of drug substance was identified that did not meet specifications and our rigorous quality standards. We isolated this batch and it will be disposed of properly," the statement said on Thursday. "Discarding a batch of bulk drug substance, while disappointing, does occasionally happen during vaccine manufacturing, which is a complex and multi-step biological process."

20:18 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Beijing authorities estimate that 44 percent of the Chinese capital’s population of 21.5 million has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, 15.4 million vaccine doses have been administered to 9.6 million people. China uses domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines. The two brands used internationally are Sinovac and Sinopharm.

19:58 GMT 01.04.2021
19:32 GMT 01.04.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Moderna partnered with the healthcare equipment maker Zimedica to create a mobile system to manufacture future vaccines using the technology behind Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, Zimedica said on Friday.

"Integrating Moderna's proprietary mRNA technology with Zimedica's instrument design and engineering expertise, both teams will work closely together in an effort to meet capability expectations set out by the DARPA program over the 4-year partnership," Zimedica said in a press release.

The effort is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Defense Department unit that researches nucleic acids such as RNA and DNA.

18:29 GMT 01.04.2021
18:23 GMT 01.04.2021
18:00 GMT 01.04.2021

The Canadian province of Ontario will go into a four-week lockdown effective Saturday amid a steady rise in variant cases of the coronavirus disease, Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday.

"Effective, Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 a.m. [4:01 a.m. GMT], Ontario will pull the emergency break for the entire province", Ford told reporters. "All 34 public health regions will move into shutdown for a period of four weeks."

17:57 GMT 01.04.2021

More world leaders have heeded the call from the World Health Organisation to draw up a treaty on better pandemic preparedness, the UN agency's chief said Thursday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday welcomed a proposal by European Council President Charles Michel to negotiate a roadmap for dealing with global health crises yet to come.

"I am pleased that more leaders are now joining the call for a pandemic treaty, which would be a generational commitment to keeping the world safe", Tedros said.

More than 25 world leaders have already signed up to the international initiative, he said, including leaders from the G20 and G7 groups of industrialised nations.

17:56 GMT 01.04.2021

Bolivian authorities have decided to restrict entry rules and introduced quarantine for all arrivals from abroad, President Luis Arce said on Thursday.

"To protect the population, by decree 4481, we have stated that any traveler arriving from abroad must submit a negative PCR test done 72 hours in advance. In addition, all arrivals will have to isolate themselves for 10 days after entering the country", Arce said on Twitter.

Also, all arriving citizens must fill in a declaration, indicating their place of residence, and take another test on the seventh day of isolation. Foreigners who do not have a permanent residence permit in Bolivia must have health insurance that would cover services rendered in case of contracting COVID-19.

Previously, a trip to Bolivia required only a negative coronavirus test submitted while boarding a plane.

The president also announced that starting from Friday, Bolivia would temporarily close the border with Brazil due to a surge in new cases of COVID-19 and the spread of new variants of the infection.

17:53 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW, April 1 (Sputnik) - The French Senate, the upper chamber of the parliament, on Thursday passed the government program to tighten COVID-19 restrictions amid the deteriorating coronavirus incidence rates.

The voting was attended by 45 out of 348 lawmakers.

Late on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled details of the new strategy, which saw a set of restrictions, which previously applied in the country's 19 highly-infected departments, coming into force throughout the whole of France for four weeks starting Saturday. The initiative was already presented to the lower parliamentary house - the National Assembly - by Prime Minister Jean Castex.

The soon-to-be-countrywide measures include closures of cultural venues, entertainment facilities and non-essential shops. Besides, schools and kindergartens in the country are due to be shut for three weeks, and inter-regional travel is also to be restricted. The nightly curfew, which has been introduced in mid-December, remains in effect.

17:33 GMT 01.04.2021

The United States is working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $650 billion allocation for the global COVID-19 recovery, the US Department of the Treasury said in a statement on Thursday.

“Treasury is working with IMF management and other members toward a $650 billion general allocation of SDRs [special drawing rights] to IMF member countries”, the statement said.

Reserving additional assets would help support the global recovery, while strong reconciliation abroad would help the US economy by increasing demand for exports of goods and services, as well as creating jobs and supporting businesses, the statement explained.

“An allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would help build reserve buffers, smooth adjustments, and mitigate the risks of economic stagnation in global growth”, the statement said.

This is only one in a range of tools to support the global recovery internationally, the statement added. This package includes robust support from the IMF, multilateral development banks, other national and international measures, the statement added.

IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said last week that the Fund conducted initial discussions on allocating additional $650 billion in special drawing rights in support of the global COVID-19 recovery. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has indicated that she would raise the issue at the IMF Executive Board meeting in June, Rice said.

17:23 GMT 01.04.2021
16:54 GMT 01.04.2021

Namibia will receive over $270.83 million to address urgent needs caused by the negative impact of the measures implemented to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund  said in a release on Thursday.

"The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved today an outright purchase of SDR 191.1 million (about US$270.83 million) to Namibia under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI)", the release said. "This will help the country address urgent balance of payments and fiscal financing needs stemming from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The IMF pointed out in the release that the worsening global conditions and a local outbreak have deteriorated Namibia’s short-term macroeconomic outlook, hindered mining exports, tourism, investment inflows and weighed on tax revenues.

"The Namibian economy is estimated to have sharply contracted by 7.2 percent in 2020, and the recovery is set to remain subdued at 2.1 percent in 2021", the release said.

The purchase under the RFI will give the required finds to help the authorities’ carry out their response to the crisis caused by the pandemic, including procuring vaccines and undertaking efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s socio-economic impact, the release said.

Earlier in March, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said that Namibia became the 50th country to authorize Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V.

16:53 GMT 01.04.2021
16:52 GMT 01.04.2021
16:31 GMT 01.04.2021

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 65, received the first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine against the coronavirus on Thursday as the government struggles to rebuild confidence in the drug.

"I trust vaccines that were approved in Germany. Today I received my first AstraZeneca shot. Vaccination is the decisive step on the way out of the pandemic. Use the opportunities! Join in!" he said in a statement.

The standing committee on vaccination at the Robert Koch institute for infectious diseases recommended on Tuesday that the UK-Swedish vaccine be used in those aged 60 and over after cases of younger people developing blood clots caused Germany to suspend the vaccine rollout last month.

15:46 GMT 01.04.2021

The European Union’s refusal to admit that there were attempts made by European officials to discredit a Russian COVID-19 vaccine suggests that Brussels did not find substantive arguments, the press office of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) said on Thursday.

"The press office of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia drew attention to the fact that the statement of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia dated 30 March of this year on the EU's approach to vaccination of the population did not go unnoticed in Brussels", the office said.

An EU spokesperson told Sputnik on Wednesday that the union rejects SVR’s claim that the bloc seeks to undermine trust in the Russian COVID-19 vaccine.

"We consider such a reaction from the EU as evidence that we have touched upon a topic that is painful for the European Union. Brussels did not find substantive arguments, but only noted in our statement that there were no ‘references to any sources that would confirm these accusations", the SVR’s office added.

14:01 GMT 01.04.2021
13:57 GMT 01.04.2021
13:35 GMT 01.04.2021
13:15 GMT 01.04.2021
Marine Le Pen of France's far-right National Front (FN) political party at the opening session of the French National Assembly in Paris, France, June 27, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920
France's Le Pen Against Macron's Toughened Strategy to Tackle Coronavirus Pandemic
12:50 GMT 01.04.2021
FILE PHOTO: People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S. June 18, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920
US Weekly Jobless Claims at 719,000 Last Week, Labor Department Says
12:22 GMT 01.04.2021
12:18 GMT 01.04.2021

"The Russian Ministry of Health has approved the use of specific immunoglobulin intended for the treatment of the new coronavirus infection. The COVID-globulin drug has become the world's first registered drug against COVID-19 of this type", Rostec corporation's National Immunobiological Company said in a statement.

11:57 GMT 01.04.2021
11:48 GMT 01.04.2021
11:33 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The French government will step up controls over inter-regional trips starting next Tuesday as part of the statewide strategy to curb the coronavirus pandemic, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on the BFMTV broadcaster on Thursday.

"The controls will begin as early as Tuesday after a tolerance during this Easter weekend," Attal said.

11:14 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized the "unacceptably slow" rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Europe, adding that tough social distancing measures may still be required to curb the spread of the disease while vaccine coverage remains low.

"Vaccines present our best way out of this pandemic. Not only do they work, they are also highly effective in preventing infection. However, the roll-out of these vaccines is unacceptably slow. And as long as coverage remains low, we need to apply the same public health and social measures as we have in the past, to compensate for delayed schedules", Hans Henri Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, said in a press release.

Only 10 percent of the WHO European Region's total population has received one COVID-19 vaccine shot, and just four percent have completed a full dosing regimen, the organization said.

11:12 GMT 01.04.2021
Will wearing two masks better protect me from the virus? - Sputnik International, 1920
Some COVID Restrictions in Belgium are 'Ridiculous', Flemish Interest Activist Says
10:59 GMT 01.04.2021
10:33 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Over 10 million sets of the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus are available in the Russian market, Inna Dolzhikova, the head of the Ivanovskiy Institute of Virology's Laboratory of the Russian State Collection of Viruses, said on Thursday.

"The Russian population has access to the vaccine. As of March 31, 2021, over 10 million sets of the vaccine have entered civil circulation," Dolzhikova said.

09:09 GMT 01.04.2021
A handout photo shows vials during the production of Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), at Binnopharm pharmaceutical company in Zelenograd near Moscow, Russia August 7, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920
Russia's RDIF Says Agreement Reached to Produce 100Mln Doses of Sputnik V Vaccine in China
08:58 GMT 01.04.2021

"The CoWIN platform has been made simpler. So, if you are 45 years or above, born before January 1st, 1977, then you are eligible to register, and get your #COVID19 vaccination", the ministry wrote on Twitter.

08:23 GMT 01.04.2021
World's first coronavirus vaccine - Sputnik International, 1920
San Marino Positively Assesses Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine Sputnik V, Health Minister Says
08:14 GMT 01.04.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia registered 9,169 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 8,275 the day before, taking the overall tally to 4,554,264, the coronavirus response centre said on Thursday.

"Over the past day, 9,169 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 84 Russian regions, including 1,216 cases (13.3 percent) without clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the cumulative case count has now reached 4,554,264, with the rate of increase reaching 0.2 percent.

07:51 GMT 01.04.2021
07:28 GMT 01.04.2021
Old man  - Sputnik International, 1920
Life Expectancy in Sweden Falls For the First Time in Half a Century Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
06:43 GMT 01.04.2021
06:18 GMT 01.04.2021

"The introduction of the so-called vaccine passports or green cards is essential so that people can sense the return to normal life. Since the beginning of the year, the government started preparing and already completed the development of a system that will allow to easily confirm the fact of vaccination via a smartphone", Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said at a government meeting on coronavirus response.

05:52 GMT 01.04.2021
A nurse draws from a vial of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920
Millions of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccines Ruined Due to Manufacturing Mistake
05:44 GMT 01.04.2021
05:16 GMT 01.04.2021
Danish Police officers check vehicles at the bordertown of Krusa, Denmark January 4, 2016.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Danish COVID-19 Test, Vaccination Centres Suffer Vandalism, Arson
05:09 GMT 01.04.2021
04:46 GMT 01.04.2021
04:42 GMT 01.04.2021
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