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A doctor shows vials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in his general practice facility, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Vienna, Austria May13, 2021.  REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Health Canada Recommends Those With Rare Blood Condition Avoid AstraZeneca Vaccine

The number of infected has topped 181 million worldwide, while the death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 3.9 million, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks data on the coronavirus across the world.

The list of the most affected countries includes the United States, India, and Brazil.

The US has confirmed over 33.6 million cases so far, and the death toll from COVID-19 is 604,000. Next is India, which faced a devastating spike in April-May, and has reported 30 million cases and over 397,000 deaths. At the same time, Brazil has registered more than 18.5 million cases and the second-highest death toll in the world - around 515,000 fatalities.

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18:16 GMT 30.06.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Nearly 70 percent of the US active duty service members have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccines, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of Defence on COVID-19 Max Rose said on Wednesday.

“Over 68 percent of our active duty service members have received at least one [vaccine] dose”, Rose said during a briefing.

As per service branch, 77 percent of Navy, 70 percent of Army, 61 percent of Air Force and 58 percent of Marine Corps active duty personnel have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

The US Defence Department has also supported over 17 million vaccinations to Americans as well as additional 4 million to its personnel, Rose added.

According to the data compiled by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 180 million of Americans have been vaccinated with at least one does while 155 million have been fully vaccinated.

Rose added that the Pentagon's COVID-19 task force will resume normal operations in the coming days.

"As the department continues to transition to fortify its pandemic preparedness, and to support vaccination efforts across the country and the globe, I could not be any more confident today that we are, as a Department [of Defence] and yes, as a nation, on a solid path", Rose said during a briefing. "In the coming days the functions of the COVID-19 task force will transition to normal operations."

Rose, the Pentagon chief's special adviser on COVID-19, underscored that the US Defence Department will continue to support fighting the pandemic until it is over on a global scale.

At the same time, acting Assistant US Defence Secretary for Health Affairs Terry Adirim said during the briefing that the new Delta variant of the novel coronavirus poses a threat to return no normal in the US as this more dangerous variant will soon become the predominant variant and is able to cause more serious disease in unvaccinated people than other virus mutations.

The Defence Department established the task force in 2020 to support other agencies efforts during the COVID-19 response.


18:15 GMT 30.06.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States, France and Germany will provide more than $700 million for South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare to expand manufacturing capacity for coronavirus vaccines, the US State Department said on Wednesday.

"The package will help increase capacity to support Aspen’s efforts to produce COVID-19 vaccines with Stringent Regulatory Authorisation (SRA) and/or World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Use Listing, including the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine”, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press release.

The US International Development Finance Corporation announced the joint financing package of $711 million with agencies in Germany and France, as well as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to fund the effort, the release said.

The vaccines will be primarily distributed to the African Union, South African Government and the global vaccine distribution network COVAX, according to the release.

16:11 GMT 30.06.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Canada will fund four projects intended to increase coronavirus vaccine uptake, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on Wednesday.

"These projects are using tailored strategies to address why some people have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine. Supporting community-based solutions helps remove systemic barriers to vaccination and will protect more people - and communities - from COVID-19", Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said in a statement.

The unspecified amount of funding will be provided to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Nova Scotia's Department of Health and Wellness, the University of British Columbia and advocacy group, Women's Health in Women's Hands, to encourage vaccination in populations that have been hard-hit by the pandemic and where vaccine uptake has been lukewarm.

The projects will be funded through the Immunisation Partnership Fund (IPF), which, to date, has received over $50 million in taxpayer money.

According to Our World in Data, 68 percent of Canadians have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, however, the country currently ranks just 57th for fully vaccinated individuals.

16:02 GMT 30.06.2021

PARIS (Sputnik) - Teenagers aged 12 to 17 in the Netherlands will be able to be get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Hugo de Jonge, the country's acting health minister, announced on Wednesday.

"Young people born in 2004 will first be able to sign up for vaccinations from Friday [2 July]", de Jonge said in a statement.

Adolescents in the 12 to 17 age group born in other years will be able to get vaccinated afterwards.

De Jonge added that teenagers have also been heavily affected by the pandemic, and vaccinating young people will allow the Netherlands to prevent a new surge in the spread of the virus in the fall.

The decision was made after the Dutch Health Council made a positive recommendation for the Pfizer/BioNTech drug to be used in adolescents 12-17 years old.

Some 5 million have already been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Netherlands, and another 4 million have received only their first shot. The country's authorities expect everyone who wants to get vaccinated to receive the first injection by mid-July.

The vaccine rollout began in the country on 6 January. During the first stage, the priority was given to nursing home employees and other health care workers directly involved in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Then the vaccination began for people over 80 years old, living at home. Starting March 6, people from 75 to 79 years old were invited to get the shot. Mass vaccination of the population has been going on since May.

15:07 GMT 30.06.2021

PARIS (Sputnik) – The rapid circulation of the Delta coronavirus strain, which originated in India, across France has become a subject of concern for the authorities, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the Delta variant accounted for about 20% of all new coronavirus infections in France.

"We have reasons for concern. The Delta strain continues to spread very quickly. A week ago this variant accounted for 10% of all infections, but today this number has doubled", Attal said at a weekly briefing.

He added that the national COVID-19 incidence rate "does not seem to be decreasing anymore".

Due to the fast spread of the Delta variant, the French authorities decided to postpone the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the southwestern Landes department, the spokesman said.

The Delta strain is believed to be the fastest spreading and most contagious coronavirus variant.

15:04 GMT 30.06.2021
14:16 GMT 30.06.2021

ANKARA (Sputnik) - Russia and Turkey are cooperating on the issue of joint production of the Russia COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

"The Russian Sputnik V vaccine has arrived in Turkey ... Our relevant departments continue to work on the topic of joint vaccine production", Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Antalya.

12:45 GMT 30.06.2021
12:05 GMT 30.06.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The global economy could lose around $4 trillion due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry in 2020 and 2021, a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report on Wednesday.

The report stated that the financial damage could be linked to the direct impact of the pandemic on tourism as well as the "ripple effect" on other sectors closely linked to the industry.

International tourism and closely linked sectors lost $2.4 trillion in 2020 due to a drop in international tourist arrivals and it's estimated that a similar loss may occur this year unless more people receive COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.

"The world needs a global vaccination effort that will protect workers, mitigate adverse social effects and make strategic decisions regarding tourism, taking potential structural changes into account," the acting secretary-general of the UNCTAD, Isabelle Durant, said.

The report predicts a loss between $1.7 trillion and $2.4 trillion in 2021 even though a rise in international tourism is expected in the second half of this year.

11:10 GMT 30.06.2021
10:42 GMT 30.06.2021
10:17 GMT 30.06.2021

LONDON (Sputnik) - England’s poor areas experienced a sharp fall in life expectancy and a rise in social inequalities last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading UK health authority said in a report released on Wednesday.

According to the study commissioned to the director of the University College London’s Institute for Health Equity, Michael Marmot, by the Greater Manchester authority, life expectancy in north-west England fell in 2020 by 1.6 years for men and 1.2 years for women, compared with 1.3 years and 0.9 years, respectively, across England as a whole.

The report also found that the COVID-19 death toll in the Manchester City region was 25% higher than in the rest of England during the 13 months to March, 2021.

"I'd like to think what we are doing in Greater Manchester will be very important for Greater Manchester, but will also potentially provide a blueprint for the rest of the country," Marmot said, adding that his findings are "generalisable" across other deprived areas of England, including poorer parts of London.

Commenting on the findings, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has "brutally" exposed how unequal England actually is.

"People in low-paid, insecure work have often had little choice in their level of exposure to Covid - and the risk of getting it and bringing it back home to those they live with," the Labour politician said.

08:51 GMT 30.06.2021
Vial labelled Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine placed on displayed Sputnik V logo is seen in this illustration picture taken March 24, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
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08:38 GMT 30.06.2021
07:35 GMT 30.06.2021

The Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended a ban on international passenger flights until 31 July amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on a case-to-case basis", the DGCA said.

Scheduled international passenger services have been suspended in India since 23 March 2020 but special international flights have been operating under the "Vande Bharat Mission" since May and under bilateral “air bubble" arrangements with selected countries since July.

06:13 GMT 30.06.2021
FILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi//File Photo/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920
Brazil 'Temporarily Suspends' Deal to Buy 20 Mln Doses of India's Covaxin Amid Kickback Allegations
05:28 GMT 30.06.2021
05:24 GMT 30.06.2021
FILE PHOTO: A health worker prepares a syringe with a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Calais as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, March 4, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Moderna Says COVID-19 Vaccine Performing Well Against Delta Variant as Strain Raises Concerns
04:43 GMT 30.06.2021

SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong has been in two-week self-isolation since June 28 after a passenger on a flight he took was found to be sick with COVID-19, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The minister arrived home Saturday from Indonesia - the final leg of his weeklong visit to Southeast Asian countries. He also visited Vietnam and Singapore. Chung's PCR test result was negative, but self-isolation will last 14 days.

"The minister had a personal schedule, including a special meeting of parliament, but no real meetings are planned during the period of isolation imposed by the health authorities", Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam said at a briefing, adding that Chung will work from home.

04:42 GMT 30.06.2021
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