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A medical worker prepares a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Antwerp, Belgium March 18, 2021 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Canadian Woman Dies of Complications After Receiving AstraZeneca Jab

According to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, around 154 million coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the world, while the global death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 3.22 million.

The United States tops the list of nations most affected by the pandemic, with over 32.5 million cases, while the coronavirus death toll in the country stands at 578,500.

Next comes India, which has registered a major surge in COVID-19 numbers in the last few weeks, with more than 20 million cases and over 226,000 deaths so far. Meanwhile, Brazil has confirmed over 14.8 million infected and around 411,000 fatalities from the virus.

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04:52 GMT 06.05.2021

Former Union minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh, 86, died of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Singh, son of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, was a seven-time MP and also served as the Union Minister of Civil Aviation.

04:31 GMT 06.05.2021
04:09 GMT 06.05.2021

CAIRO (Sputnik) - Egypt announced the introduction of temporary restrictions on the operation of restaurants, cafes, cinemas and shops as part of the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly made a relevant statement to the press.

"The crisis management commission decided that in the last days of the month of Ramadan and the days of Eid al-Adha, shops, restaurants, cafes and cinemas will close at 21:00 (1900 GMT). The decision comes into force tomorrow (May 6) and will be valid for two weeks until May 21," Madbouly said at a press conference in Cairo.

23:39 GMT 05.05.2021

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Peru has signed a contract with Pfizer to supply 12 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the country, President Francisco Sagasti said.

“We have signed a new contract with Pfizer for 12 million additional doses of the vaccine,” Sagasti tweeted.

The vaccine is to reach Peru by the end of the year. Thus, by that time, the country will receive 60 million doses of medicines from various manufacturers.

22:15 GMT 05.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 73,295 to 14,930,183 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the death toll has risen by 2,811 to 414,399 people within the same period of time.

More than 13.52 million patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

A day earlier, the country confirmed more than 77,000 new coronavirus cases, with 2,966 fatalities.

21:43 GMT 05.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government seeks to boost availability of coronavirus vaccines to the nation’s homeless population, community health clinics and subsidized housing in a joint effort announced by Biden administration Housing and Health secretaries.

"Many of the people that HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development] serves are among the most vulnerable in our society. They’re seniors, they’re people with disabilities, they’re people of color from households of modest means, and they’re people who are experiencing homelessness. This partnership between HHS [Health Department] and HUD is about saving lives by expanding access to comprehensive COVID care for those in need. It’s about meeting people where they are - and about bringing health care home," Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a press release on Wednesday.

The effort will expand the COVID-19 Vaccine Program at nearly 800 federally supported community health centers, with the goal of reaching over 6,000 multifamily housing properties, 6,700 homeless shelters, and approximately 7,500 public housing projects throughout the United States, the release said.

Fudge and Health Secretary Xavier Becerra unveiled the program during a visit to the Washington, DC Community of Hope charity as part of a Biden administration push to expand access to coronavirus vaccines and tests in vulnerable communities, according to the release.

21:42 GMT 05.05.2021

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Guatemala has received the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, the Foreign Ministry said.

The emergency use of Sputnik V was greenlighted in Guatemala in late February.

"The first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has already arrived in Guatemala," the ministry said in a statement on late Wednesday.

The Latin American nation is currently using the Moderna and AstraZeneca drugs as part of the vaccination campaign.

21:24 GMT 05.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A homegrown live polio vaccine has been experimentally proved to be able to prevent the coronavirus disease, the director-general of the Chumakov Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aidar Ishmukhametov, said on Wednesday.

Scientists have previously expressed the opinion that Russians had non-specific immunity to COVID-19, that is to say, one-type reactions of the body's immune system to infections. In the 1960s, Soviet virologist Mikhail Chumakov suggested that a live polio vaccine could mitigate the course of the flu. The Chumakov Center, named after the virologist, has now tested this hypothesis regarding the coronavirus.

"We gave about 60 volunteers a live polio vaccine, and as a result, we received a sharp decrease in the incidence in this group. We have proved this issue,” Ishmukhametov said on the Rossiya 1 broadcaster.

However, the researchers decided to leave polio vaccination aside for now as a “rapid-response option," he noted.

In the late 1950s, the research center developed the first-ever technology of industrial large-scale production of a live polio vaccine. The large-scale immunization of the entire USSR population kicked off in 1960.

The Chumakov Center has also developed CoviVac, which became the third coronavirus vaccine registered in Russia. The drug is a so-called whole-virion vaccine based on modified SARS-CoV-2 virus that is unable to cause disease but boosts immunity against the coronavirus.

The vaccine was developed from the samples taken from one of the COVID-19 patients in a Moscow hospital. Mass production of the medicine was launched in late March.

21:22 GMT 05.05.2021

TORONTO (Sputnik) – Canada will be sending medical supplies to India in the coming days to help the country deal with an overwhelming wave of novel coronavirus case, Global Affairs Canada said on Wednesday.

“Today, Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs… announced that Canada is sending up to 25,000 vials of the antiviral remdesivir (brand name Veklury) and up to 350 ventilators from its National Emergency Strategic Stockpile to help respond to the critical situation across India,” Canada’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Canada will also provide 1,450 oxygen concentrators to India – Due to the record increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitals in the country are experiencing a lack of liquid oxygen – through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the statement said.

The aid package will be airlifted to India by the Canadian Armed Forces.

India comes second in terms of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases following the United States and registers more than 300,000 new ones per day over the past week.

The dire situation in India has spurred an international assistance effort, with countries including Russia and the United States providing support for the response.

Russian provided India with more than 22 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including medicines, lung ventilators and oxygen generation equipment, last week.

21:18 GMT 05.05.2021

MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - The health authorities of the Colombian capital have temporarily closed vaccination centers in Bogota amid ongoing violent demonstrations against a proposed government tax reform, Bogota's health secretary, Alejandro Gomez, said on Wednesday.

"With a heavy heart, I ordered the closure of the COVID-19 PCR diagnostic stations, as well as the vaccination centers, which have been our pride in recent days. Current conditions do not allow the working day to continue as desired," Gomez said on Twitter.

The decision comes after the public transport of Bogota suspended its work earlier in the day, since many roads and highways were blocked by protesters.

Rallies in Colombia against an increase in gas prices and utility bills as part of state-proposed tax reform have been underway since last week. Even though President Ivan Duque called the reform off on Sunday, protesters have continued to rally, calling for a nationwide demonstration on May 5.

In addition to the cancellation of the tax reform, labor and student organizations, are now demanding a review of the sanitary emergency and health care reform, the dissolution of the Esmad riot police, demilitarization of cities and punishing those responsible for killing protesters.

Colombia's chief human rights official has reported at least 19 casualties, including one police officer, as of May 3. According to the Ministry of Defense, 846 people have sustained injuries during the rallies.

20:06 GMT 05.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A judge at the US Federal District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday overturned the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) coronavirus pandemic-related moratorium on residential evictions.

"It is the role of the political branches, and not the courts, to assess the merits of policy measures designed to combat the spread of disease, even during a global pandemic. The question for the Court is a narrow one: Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium? It does not," Judge Dabney Friedrich said in a ruling.

The US Justice Department announced that they plan on immediately filing an appeal in the case -  Alabama Association of Realtors v. US Department of Health and Human Services.

Such a move would take the case in question to a federal circuit court, after which it would need to be appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Congress originally enacted a 120-day eviction ban that applied to rental properties receiving federal assistance. The CDC then issued, and twice extended, a broader eviction moratorium that applied to all rental properties nationwide, citing concerns that evictions could be detrimental to public health control measures. The moratorium was most recently extended until June 30.

20:05 GMT 05.05.2021

GENEVA (Sputnik) - The director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday urged countries that manufacture their own coronavirus vaccines, in particular, Russia and China, to consider ways to increase vaccine deliveries to nations in need.

"Countries like Russia, China, Brazil, Cuba, who have vaccines under development or who are already sharing their vaccines with others, should look at ways to boost supplies so we can increase the volume of vaccines in the world. Those who need to get Emergency Use Authorization from the WHO to enable access to their vaccines should do so," Okonjo-Iweala said at a meeting of the WTO General Council.

In addition, the WTO chief pointed out to a necessity to mobilize the existing capacities that could be used for vaccine manufacturing. According to her, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and South Africa have these capacities.

19:45 GMT 05.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States does not believe the members of its delegation at the G7 summit are at risk because Indian delegation representatives have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, US State Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said on Wednesday.

“We certainly understand that there are members of the Indian delegation to the G7 that have tested positive for COVID-19,” Porter told reporters during a press briefing. “At this time, we don’t have reason to believe that any of our delegation is at risk.”

Earlier on Wednesday, several media outlets reported that two members of the Indian delegation have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the as a result the Indian delegation will participate in meetings virtually.

The G7 meeting this week is supposed to be the first in-person meeting of the member states' foreign ministers since April 2019. Last year, the meetings were held by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting will also be attended by the representatives from Australia, South Korea, South Africa and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

17:19 GMT 05.05.2021

Hospitalisations and deaths of younger people are surging as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates across Latin America and the Caribbean, Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday.

"Adults of all ages - including young people - are becoming seriously ill. Many of them are dying", Etienne said at her daily press briefing as quoted in a PAHO release.

In Brazil, mortality rates doubled among those younger than 39, quadrupled among those in their 40s, and tripled for those in their 50s, between December 2020 and March 2021, she said.

"For much of the pandemic, our hospitals were filled with elderly COVID patients, many of whom had pre-existing conditions that made them more susceptible to severe disease", Etienne said. "But look around intensive care units across our region today. You’ll see they’re filled not only with elderly patients, but also with younger people."

Etienne urged hospitals in the region to increase the size of intensive care units (ICU) in anticipation that the trend will continue, while warning that expansion of ICUs cannot continue indefinitely.

As a result, she urged nations to double down on prevention measures such as lockdowns and facemasks.

17:12 GMT 05.05.2021

Israel has extended the validity of its coronavirus vaccination certificates, known as "green passports," until the year-end on a par with the restriction on visiting certain events and facilities without them, the Israeli Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Israeli certificates were originally issued for six months, to become void in late June.

"Director General of the Health Ministry Hezi Levi has signed the decision to extend the validity of 'green passports' until December 2021", the ministry said.

The extension was because the ministry considered the national vaccination progress successful, according to the statement.

Israel started its vaccination drive on 20 December and has since inoculated over 60% of population. More than 5.4 million Israelis have to date received their first shot and over 5 million have received both.

17:08 GMT 05.05.2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor discussed increasing global COVID-19 vaccine production, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a readout of the conversation after the meeting between the two leaders on Wednesday.

"Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Pandor underscored the need to expand global COVID-19 vaccine production and to cooperate on climate ambition and regional security issues such as the ongoing violence by ISIS-Mozambique [Islamic State terror group, banned in Russia]", Price said. "Secretary Blinken conveyed the importance of multilateral organizations in addressing humanitarian and human rights crises, including in Ethiopia’s Tigray region."

Price said that Blinken and Pandor also committed to advance planning for a bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

On Monday, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that a plane carrying the first batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has arrived in South Africa.

Mkhize said earlier samples of the Pfizer vaccine would be sent to the National Control Laboratory for quality assurance, after which the doses would be distributed to the country’s provinces.

With respect to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Mkhize said the doses were awaiting to be dispatched at Aspen's Gqeberha factory in the Eastern Cape Province and are expected to be released in mid-May. South Africa stopped administering this vacine after the US Food and Drug Administration said six women developed a severe type of blood clots.

South Africa is expecting approximately 325,260 doses of Pfizer to arrive on a weekly basis, to reach a total of more than 1.3 million by the end of May. The batches will then increase to an average of 636,480 doses weekly from May 31, for a total of 4.5 million by the end of June.

17:07 GMT 05.05.2021

Managing inflation will be one of the toughest challenges for US policymakers in coming months as price pressures grow from an economy rebounding rapidly from the coronavirus pandemic, Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

"Needless to say, it has been a very challenging year in so many respects", Evans said in a speech on the economy distributed by the Chicago chapter of the US central bank. "But I am very optimistic about our economy’s growth prospects, and am hopeful that our employment goal will be in sight before too long. Yet, despite some recent price increases, achieving our inflation goal may prove more difficult".

The Fed has the dual task of ensuring maximum employment for Americans and keeping inflation growth at an average of 2 percent a year.

Evans’ comments came after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that US interest rates might have to rise from their current near-zero levels to prevent overheating of an economy reopening from pandemic lockdowns.

Yellen also said the Biden administration’s spending plans in the coming months would involve some reallocation of resources within the economy that “could cause some very modest increase in interest rates.”

President Joe Biden, who managed to get Congress to approve a COVID-19 relief bill of $1.9 trillion in March, is planning a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill next under his so-called American Jobs Plan.

US interest rates have been held at between zero and 0.25 percent since March 2020 to aid recovery from the pandemic.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last week the central bank had no plans of raising rates for now, despite its projections that the economy will rebound 6.5 percent this year from a 3.5 percent decline in 2020.

Powell acknowledged the surge in prices of commodities and other materials with the recovery in the economy but called such inflationary pressure “transitory.”

Evans said core inflation excluding food and energy prices rose by 1.8 percent in March from a 1.4 percent decline in February.

"I was not surprised to see such an increase, and I expect to see some further pickup in inflation in the coming months", he said. "Part of the increase will be purely mechanical as the low inflation reading from April of last year falls out of the 12-month calculation — a factor that boosted year-over-year inflation in March as well. In addition, as the virus subsides and people resume normal activities, demand should pick up further for those goods and services that are most affected by the pandemic, pulling their prices up to more typical levels".

He said supply chain bottlenecks were also developing as demand exceeded supply for steel, computer chips, construction materials, appliances and other items.

17:06 GMT 05.05.2021

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in cooperation with Germany will establish a new international hub combining intelligence, data, surveillance, and analytics innovation to predict and prevent global health threats, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

"The current Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that we can only fight pandemics and epidemics together. The new WHO Hub will be a global platform for pandemic prevention, bringing together various governmental, academic and private sector institutions. I am delighted that WHO chose Berlin as its location and invite partners from all around the world to contribute to the WHO hub”, Merkel said, as cited by the WHO’s statement.

According to the statement, the project is part of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, designed to bring nations and partners worldwide together to develop mechanisms for risk analysis, boost innovations to “increase availability and linkage of diverse data,” and monitor disease control efforts across the globe.

The hub will also support local public experts in all countries in their efforts to rapidly “prevent and respond to future public health emergencies,” according to the WHO.

According to German Health Minister Jens Spahn, the hub is set to start operating later this year.

Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO emergencies program, said the funding for the hub would be included in the WHO budget for 2022-2023. 

17:05 GMT 05.05.2021

Norway plans to lift its coronavirus restrictions gradually, including the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination certificates as early as in June, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

"We are ready to gradually reopen the society in late May", Solberg said at a press conference, adding that the country's law will have to be amended in order to introduce vaccination passports, among other things.

According to the prime minister, the document will serve as proof that its owner either has been vaccinated, had the disease, or tested negative.

"Our plan is to complete the development of passports before the European Union does it, at the beginning of June. Either way we will be able to start using the document in Norway proper, as well as abroad, if possible", Solberg explained.

The Norwegian government has not yet worked up any specific rules on how the certificate will be used, but the assumption is that it will be used for visiting public events and traveling, she added.

The EU plans to introduce bloc-wide certificates in late June, according to the Norwegian prime minister.

Norway's neighbor, Denmark, already introduced such certificates in April, allowing holders to visit cafes, restaurants, concerts and other public places.

17:05 GMT 05.05.2021

The Ottawa federal government has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to immunise children between the ages of 12 and 15, Health Canada announced on Wednesday.

"Today, Health Canada authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years of age", the Canadian national health agency said in a statement. "This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada for use in children and marks a significant milestone in Canada's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic."

Health Canada received an application to expand the indication of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on April 16, 2021. The vaccine was initially authorized for use in people 16 years of age and older on December 9, 2020, the statement noted.

"After completing a thorough and independent scientific review of the evidence, the Department has determined that this vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 when used in children between 12 and 15 years of age", Health Canada said.

Health Canada said it had placed terms and conditions requiring Pfizer-BioNTech to continue providing information on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine in the 12-to-15 age group to ensure its benefits continued to be demonstrated once it was on the market.

17:04 GMT 05.05.2021

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a new low of 400 deaths per day associated with the novel coronavirus as the daily cases of infection continue to fall, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, CDC reported just over 32,000 new cases of COVID-19. Our seven-day average is about 48,000 cases per day. This represents yet another decrease of about 12 percent from the prior seven-day average”, Walensky said in a press briefing. “Seven day average daily deaths has also declined to a new low of 400 per day.”

Walensky noted that the number of hospital admissions has also decreased by almost 10 percent as the seven-day average is over 3,900 admissions per day.

As of Wednesday, the United States has reported more than 32 million cases and nearly 575,000 of virus-related deaths, according to the data compiled by the CDC.

17:03 GMT 05.05.2021

People who have been both previously infected and fully vaccinated against the coronavirus show a higher antibody response and an increased protection against variants, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday.

“Antibody response from people who were previously infected, and then boosted with two doses of an mRNA [messenger RNA vaccine], you’re in interesting increased protection against the variants of concern”, Fauci said. “People who were previously infected, recovered, and then at some time later got vaccinated, you can see they’re protected not only against the wild type, but against the 351 from South Africa [B.1.351], and the P.1.”

Fauci underscored that vaccines are better in providing an antibody response compared to the natural infection with COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, over 106 million Americans have been fully vaccinated and nearly 148 million have received at least one vaccine shot.

15:02 GMT 05.05.2021
14:29 GMT 05.05.2021

The UK government will offer fully vaccinated nationals aged 50 and older to get a third coronavirus vaccine dose in a bid to have COVID-19 entirely gone and done with by Christmas, The Times reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

According to the newspaper, UK Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty is supervising trials of two possible scenarios of the extra vaccination step.

The first scenario is to give people a third dose of an existing approved vaccine, while the second reportedly involves inoculation with a modified vaccine targeting specifically the new variants. The UK vaccination campaign uses the vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca or Moderna.

UK scientists reportedly consider these methods so effective as to render the coronavirus incidence insignificant by Christmas and bring about a level of public immunity high enough for young people not to need revaccination.

The United Kingdom has confirmed over 4.4 million cases of COVID-19, including over 127,500 fatalities. According to government data, at least 34.7 million people have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while over 15.6 million people have had the corresponding second dose.

14:28 GMT 05.05.2021
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
Putin, Erdogan Discuss Joint Production of Sputnik V in Turkey
13:55 GMT 05.05.2021
A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks past the fire as he cremates the bodies of people who died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as India's outbreak spreads across South Asia, in Kathmandu, Nepal May 5, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Third COVID Wave 'Inevitable', Vaccines Must Be Upgraded, Says India's Principal Scientific Adviser
13:49 GMT 05.05.2021
13:29 GMT 05.05.2021
 Blood samples - Sputnik International, 1920
India Plans To Keep Blood Banks Filled As COVID-19 Vaccination Starts for Over-18s
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This handout photograph taken on December 10, 2020 and released by the Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB), shows India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling the plaque to lay the foundation stone of the new parliament building in New Delhi. - Sputnik International, 1920
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10:15 GMT 05.05.2021

"The known and potential benefits of the Moderna vaccine, when used to prevent COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of said vaccine as of date", FDA General Director Eric Domingo said, as quoted by the Rappler.

09:38 GMT 05.05.2021

The Supreme Court of India has asked the Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that Delhi gets 700 metric tonnes of oxygen amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court, "It is our submission that if Delhi gets 500 MT of oxygen, they will be able to manage". However, Justice Chandrachud said, "As an institution, we can't accept that. We ourselves have ordered you to supply 700 MT. We can’t go back on that. We are responsible to the citizens".

09:29 GMT 05.05.2021

"We’ve backed UK science from the very start of this pandemic and this multi-million pound funding for a state-of-the-art vaccine testing facility at Porton Down will enable us to further future-proof the country from the threat of new variants", Health Minister Matt Hancock was quoted as saying.

The funding will allow scientists to increase from the current 700 per week to 3,000 the number of blood samples tested for the levels of antibodies to COVID-19 generated by vaccines so they can assess their effectiveness against the new strains of SARS-CoV-2.

"A new variant that can escape the current vaccines is the greatest risk of a third wave. This new investment will help us stay one step ahead of the virus by doubling our capacity to test vaccine effectiveness against emerging variants", Jenny Harries, chief executive at the UK Health Security Agency, said.

09:10 GMT 05.05.2021
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An Indian Flag hangs near the London landmark Big Ben in Parliament Square in London, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Britain for a three day visit. - Sputnik International, 1920
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08:00 GMT 05.05.2021

"Over the past day, 7,795 coronavirus cases were confirmed across 83 Russian regions, including 934 cases (11.7%) without clinical symptoms", the coronavirus response center said, adding that the rate of increase was at 0.16%.

07:50 GMT 05.05.2021

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday announced a slew of measures including loan restructuring for individuals and small businesses hit hard by the fresh COVID-19 wave.

To augment the supply of goods for coronavirus care, the central bank has opened $1.5 billion on-tap window. It will be open untill 31 March 2022, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said, adding that under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to a wide ranging of entities. This includes manufacturers, importers, and suppliers of vaccine and medical devices, as well as hospitals and also patients, seeking treatment.

06:58 GMT 05.05.2021
FILE - In this Friday, March 1, 2019 file photo, the sun sets over a small bay with fishing and pleasure crafts at anchor, on Mahe island, Seychelles.  - Sputnik International, 1920
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06:41 GMT 05.05.2021
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to attend the weekly Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Wednesday, April 21, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
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05:17 GMT 05.05.2021

"Independent studies show that a high proportion of the population really reacts to vaccination. Among the volunteers, we have announced these figures, now we are conducting random studies among immunised groups, we see that these figures are significantly higher than 90 percent", Alexander Ryzhikov, department head at the Vector State Scientific Centre said on the official Instagram account of the Russian health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

The researcher added that Vector was studying a three-dose regiment of EpiVacCorona.

"First and second phase clinical trials of the three-dose regiment of this vaccine are now underway", Ryzhikov said.

Such a method has already been tested on animals, namely primates, hamsters, and guinea pigs.

"The effect of the increase and duration of immunity has been confirmed, primarily in primates", the developer noted.


05:01 GMT 05.05.2021

According to Dr Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer in the province of Alberta, the fatality was confirmed to be linked to "vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT)".

"While any death is tragic, it is important to remember that the risks of dying or suffering other severe outcomes from COVID-19 remain far greater than the risk following AstraZeneca vaccine", she added.

05:00 GMT 05.05.2021
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"This is a demonstration of our solidarity, our mutual trust because it is a great honour to be the first volunteer in Venezuela during the EpiVacCorona trials - the second Russian vaccine that has arrived here", Ambassador Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov said.

04:31 GMT 05.05.2021
Healthcare workers and relatives carry the body of a person, who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), for his burial at a graveyard in New Delhi, India, April 28, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
BioNTech Founders Suggest Coronavirus Will Continue to Spread Across the Globe Through Mid-2022
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