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In this file photo dated Sunday, April 4, 2021, a  member of the medical staff prepares a dose of the  Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination site in Sarcelles, outside Paris - Sputnik International

Live Updates: European Regulator Sees No Urgent Need of Booster Shots for Those Fully Vaccinated

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 4.54 million, while over 218.3 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide.
The United States has the highest death toll and overall coronavirus tally, with 642,072 fatalities and 39.3 million infected. It is followed by India (more than 32.86 million cases and 439,529 deaths) and Brazil (20.8 million cases and a death toll of 581,150).
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has unveiled a new COVID-19 "variant of interest" dubbed Mu. The B.1.621 variant was given the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet by the UN health body on 30 August, and was first identified in Colombia in January.
Forty-eight cases have already been identified in the UK, along with hundreds in the US, with the worldwide total at around 4,500.
Follow Sputnik's live feed to find out more.   
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23:28 GMT 02.09.2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Fauci Claims New COVID-19 Mu Variant Not Posing An Immediate 'Threat' to US
22:53 GMT 02.09.2021

MOSCOW, (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 27,345 to 20,804,215 within the past 24 hours, the national Ministry of Health said on late Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the death toll has risen by 737 to 581,150 people within the same period of time.

More than 19.77 million patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

A day earlier, the country confirmed 24,589 new coronavirus cases, with 839 fatalities.

Brazil comes second in terms of the death toll following the United States with more than 643,000 fatalities, and third in terms of the number of confirmed cases after the US and India.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 218.88 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 4.54 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

18:14 GMT 02.09.2021

The Italian vaccination campaign will begin to administer third doses of coronavirus vaccines to citizens with poor immune response in late September, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Thursday.

"We are discussing third vaccine doses at this time. This dialogue will lead to the use of the third dose, it will begin in September, by the end of this month, and will begin with people with very weak immune response. This recommendation came in a few hours ago from the European Medicines Agency, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and the European authorities, and our Scientific Technical Committee agrees with this instruction," Speranza told a press conference.

Italy will be able to meet the target of 80% of its population vaccinated by the end of this month, Prime Minister Mario Draghi is convinced.

"The vaccination campaign is going well, and 80% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of September. Today we have fully vaccinated 70% [of the population aged over 12] and I am sure that by the end of September we will reach the level of 80%. This is important for the restoration of production and the resumption of school classes," he said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.

The prime minister also expressed support for those suffering insults from opponents of the vaccination campaign and said the government was considering an expansion of the COVID-19 passes with a QR code, containing information about vaccinations or recent recoveries from the virus, for bmore categories of workers and services.

In early August, the Italian government made health passes mandatory for attending bars, restaurants, and mass events.

As of Thursday, Italy has confirmed over 4.5 million COVID-19 cases and 129,352 related fatalities. 

16:56 GMT 02.09.2021

The EU considers the European Digital COVID Certificate a success, since it has helped restore over 70% of the air traffic reduced by COVID-19 travel restrictions, a spokesperson for the European Commission told Sputnik on Thursday.

"The European Digital COVID Certificate is a symbol of an open and safe Europe. It gave travelers the confidence to travel safely inside the EU this summer. It makes it easier for authorities and airlines to verify the necessary documentation," the representative of the European Commission said.

The spokesperson stated that the EU-wide system of digital certificates is meant to facilitate the verification of travel documents by the authorities, as a result of which "airlines got back to over 70% of the air traffic, compared with pre-crisis levels."

The European Digital COVID Certificate was designed to facilitate safe travel within the EU during the pandemic. Since its launch in July 2021, 400 million certificates have been issued. Many countries around the world have asked to join the initiative, and nine non-EU countries have become part of it so far, the commission said.

14:18 GMT 02.09.2021

US jobless claims reached new lows since the start of the pandemic, coming in at 340,000 for the final week of August, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

“In the week ending August 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 340,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's revised level,” the department said in a statement attesting to the continued labor market recovery from the pandemic. “This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500.”

Economists polled by US media forecast 345,000 unemployment claims for the latest week on file, putting what the department reported at just above target.

Continuing claims for the week ended August 21 — reported with a one-week lag — were at 2.75 million, versus the 2.78 million reading for the week to August 14. The change brought the weekly unemployment rate down by 0.1 percent to 2.0 percent.

More than a year into the COVID-19 crisis, restoring job growth remains one of the main concerns of US policymakers.

The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April 2020, at the height of business lockdowns forced by the coronavirus. More than 7 million of those jobs have yet to return, officials say.

The US economy itself shrank 3.5 percent in 2020. This year though, growth has been quite dynamic, with a 6.5 percent rebound for the second quarter though that was still below the 8.5 percent expected by economists.

The Federal Reserve thinks growth will average at 6.5 percent for all of 2021. But Chairman Jerome Powell also says it may take a while for “full employment” — defined by a monthly unemployment rate of 4.0 percent or lower — to occur. The monthly unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent in July.

14:17 GMT 02.09.2021

The European Medical Agency (EMA) on Thursday said there is no urgent need to administer booster shots to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as the vaccines authorized in Europe are at present highly effective against the virus.

"Based on current evidence, there is no urgent need for the administration of booster doses of vaccines to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population," the regulator said in a release, citing a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In the report, the ECDC stated that boosters are for fully vaccinated people to restore protection after it immunity has waned. On the other hand, additional doses may be given to those with severely weakened immune systems, as they may not achieve an adequate level of protection from the primary vaccination.

"Some studies report that an additional vaccine dose can improve the immune response in immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients whose initial responses to vaccination were low. In such cases, the option of administering an additional dose should be considered already now," EMA added.

The agency said it was presently assessing data on additional doses to consider whether updates to product information were appropriate. However, it urged member states to consider preparatory plans for administering boosters and additional doses.

EMA also pressed for continued COVID-19 measures to complement vaccination efforts while urging eligible individuals to take the full course of vaccination.

Meanwhile, the European Union has reached its goal of full COVID-19 vaccination of 70% of the adult population.

14:17 GMT 02.09.2021

The COVID-19 delta variant interrupted the US economic recovery in August, depressing consumer spending and driving consumer confidence to the lowest level since February, Morning Consult said in a report on Thursday.

“Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment has fallen sharply since the beginning of July and is now at its lowest level since February 2021,” the report said. “Retail sales likely contracted in August for the second consecutive month.

In August, the delta variant drove cases and hospitalizations up to levels not seen since January.

The report cited “emerging trends” in data indicating that spending could rebound in September.

Positive developments included increased COVID-19 vaccination rates, record highs in stock markets and indications that sentiment in high-income households – those earning at least $100,000 a year – began recovering in late August, the report said.

Rosy forecasts for economic growth in the second half of the year typically anticipate a switch from consumer goods to spending on services in the fall, according to the report.

10:28 GMT 02.09.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Federal Biomedical Agency (FMBA) created rapid tests capable of detecting Jota and Lambda coronavirus strains in people, the FMBA chief, Veronika Skvortsova, said on 2 September.

"We have developed quick tests for detecting specific virus strains, including the latest variants of the Delta and Delta+. Now we have developed [tests for] the Jota and Lambda strains," Skvortsova stated at an Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) session.

The sixth edition of the EEF, which is taking place from September 2-4 at the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, is aimed at developing business ties and attracting national and international investors to Russia's Far East.

10:04 GMT 02.09.2021

ATHENS (Sputnik) - Greece's Council of State, which is the nation's top administrative court, has tuned down the request of health workers to suspend the law obligating certain groups of the population to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the ERT broadcaster reported on Thursday.

Starting 1 September, all medical workers who have not received coronavirus shots are to be suspended without pay.

Medical personnel submitted a petition to suspend the law on mandatory vaccination to the State Council and the national union of public hospital employees, POEDΗN.

The Council of State had previously rejected a similar request signed by a group of 115 healthcare workers from all over Greece, according to the broadcaster.

The second part of the fresh petition will be considered by the court on October 8.

The lawsuit alleges lack of scientific and epidemiological documentation, as well as violations of constitutional rights and legal order as grounds for canceling the law on obligatory vaccinations.

The legislation sparked rallies last month, with medical workers across Greece scheduled to hold a five-hour strike and protests on Thursday.

08:30 GMT 02.09.2021
08:26 GMT 02.09.2021
A woman receives a Sputnik V shot in San Marino. - Sputnik International, 1920
Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Shows 94.8% Efficacy Against Coronavirus in San Marino
08:25 GMT 02.09.2021
06:55 GMT 02.09.2021
04:47 GMT 02.09.2021
04:46 GMT 02.09.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Plans to begin producing COVID-19 vaccines locally in Latin America and the Caribbean have advanced with more than 30 proposals for the regional introduction of needed technology, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

“The first initiative under the platform is to facilitate the transfer to the region of the mRNA vaccine technology used in highly effective COVID-19 vaccines. PAHO has received 32 proposals from private and public companies that want to participate in the endeavor,” PAHO said in a press release.

About three-fourths of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have not been fully immunized, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said, as quoted in the release.

“More than a third of countries in our region have yet to vaccinate 20% of their populations. And in some places, coverage is much lower,” Etienne added.

Fully vaccinating about 60 percent of each nation’s population would require the delivery of at least 540 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the release.

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