Russia records 5,065 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours

News Network
August 14, 2020

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Moscow, Aug 14: Russia has registered 5,065 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (5,057 yesterday), bringing the cumulative total to 912,823, the country's coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,065 COVID-19 cases in 83 regions, of which 1,313 (25.9 per cent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response centre said in a statement.

This brings the total case count to 912,823, with a daily increase standing at 0.6 per cent.

Moscow has registered 688 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, which is more than any other region in Russia, followed by St. Petersburg with 159 cases and the Moscow Region with 156 cases (compared to 692, 160 and 148 yesterday, respectively).

No new cases have been recorded in the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Nenets Autonomous Region.

A total of 114 COVID-19 patients died in Russia in the past 24 hours (124 on the previous day), which brings the death toll to 15,498.

As many as 6,568 coronavirus patients have been discharged (6,098 yesterday), bringing the total number of recoveries to 722,964.

According to the Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 31.9 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in the country since the beginning of the outbreak, and 231,000 suspected virus carriers remain under medical monitoring.

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Agencies
September 19,2020

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Beijing, Sept 19: Amid worsening relations between two countries, China on Saturday said it resolutely opposed the move by the US to ban TikTok and WeChat and vowed to take countermeasures.

"China urges the US to abandon the hegemonic behaviour, to immediately stop the mistaken measures to maintain fair and transparent international rules and order," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement, according to a report in South China Morning Post.

"If the US insists on going its own way, the Chinese side will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese companies."

US Commerce Department on Friday announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the US.

The department said while the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar.

"Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China's civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security," the Department said.

On August 6, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning any US transactions with ByteDance, set to take effect in 45 days.

On August 14, he issued another executive order, requiring ByteDance to divest its interests in TikTok's operations in the US within 90 days.

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Agencies
September 15,2020

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Washington, Sept 15: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said India's willingness to play a "big role" in manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine and allow it to supply to other developing countries will be a critical part in containing the coronavirus pandemic globally.

In an exclusive interview to PTI, Gates, whose foundation is focusing on fighting the pandemic, called it the "next biggest thing" the world has been confronted with after the World War.

The Microsoft co-founder said the world is looking to India for large scale production of Covid-19 vaccine once it is rolled out.

"Obviously, all of us want to get a vaccine out in India as fast as we can, once we know that it's very effective and very safe, and so the plans are coming into focus that sometime next year, it's very likely that roll-out will take place and take place in fairly big volume," he said.

"The world is also looking to India for some of that capacity to be available to other developing countries. Exactly what that allocation formula looks like will have to be figured out," Gates added.

Scientists and pharmaceutical companies globally are racing against time to find a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic which has killed about 9,32,000 people and infected around 24 million. Some of the vaccine candidates have entered the third and final phase of testing.

"This is not like a world war, but it's the next biggest thing after that that we've ever had," he said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world's largest charities, has been involved in global efforts to contain the pandemic. In India, the foundation has entered into a partnership with the Serum Institute to accelerate the manufacturing and delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.

"India's willingness to play a big role in the manufacturing and to allow some of those vaccines to go to other developing countries will be an absolutely critical part of that," said Gates.

"India will be helping to make sure we have equity. We have a model that shows that getting the vaccine out to those who need it the most will save half the lives that you'd lose if you only send it out to the rich countries," he said.

In the telephonic interview, the Microsoft co-founder who has donated billions of dollars to fight poverty and diseases, talked extensively about India's strength in production of vaccines and referred to companies like Serum Institute, Bio E and Bharat Biotech.

"We've been brokering the idea of taking a vaccine and manufacturing it in India, even if it comes from AstraZeneca, Oxford or Novavax or Johnson & Johnson. We've publicly talked about the arrangement where a Serum will be able to make very high volume of the AstraZeneca and the Novavax vaccine," said Gates.

"There's discussions with Bio E, their connection with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and whether they'll be able to ramp that up," he said.

Gates also said that the foundation has been having "great discussions" with India's NITI-Aayog, adding the ICMR is looking at the regulatory aspects of the Covid-19 vaccines.

"I'm actually very impressed with how our discussions with the government on these issues and the companies, including the Western companies collaborating with these new companies, that's all gone very well," Gates said.

The American business magnate said he was optimistic that by the first quarter of next year, that several of these vaccines will reach the phase three emergency licence approval.

"We still could be disappointed in that. But we have a variety of constructs and the early data from the phase one and phase two, for example the antibody levels, looks pretty promising for quite a few of these vaccines," he said.

He said the focus should be to keep the cost of the vaccines low and it should be ensured that they can be made in very high volume.

"We have to remember that even once a vaccine is approved, the bar for that vaccine in terms of the effectiveness was set as 50 per cent, and so we still may want to continue with other vaccines to get higher effectiveness," he said.

Gates also complimented India's digital cash transfer scheme.

"Getting payments out through digital cash transfers, that has been a fantastic thing, and obviously, India has done that at a scale that no other country ever has," he said.

"The whole Aadhaar digital financial system in India has proven to be once again a huge asset," he said, adding it can be extended to all the countries of the world.

The philanthropist also referred to the foundation's annual Goalkeepers report saying it normally takes stock of the ongoing progress on things like economic growth, literacy, child survival and average lifespan.

"This year's report, unfortunately, we're unable to say that there's been progress. In fact, we talk about the setback, and one way we dimensionalise that for like vaccine coverage globally, which went from 84 per cent to 70 per cent, is we say that's a 25-year setback," he said.

Asked whether India's economic downturn will impact implementation of social welfare schemes, Gates said the foundation is a huge believer that investments in health pay off very strongly.

"It's tragic that all health activities have been so disrupted, and that will lead to increased deaths from other diseases, not just COVID," he said.

"In fact, in many places, and I'm not sure if India will be included in this, but there's a chance that there would be more deaths from other diseases because of the health disruption than from COVID itself," he said.

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News Network
September 22,2020

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Geneva, Sept 22: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a record number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus registered across the world over the past week -- almost 2 million infections -- which marks the highest number in a single week so far.

"From 14 through 20 September, there were almost 2 million new cases of COVID-19, which represents a 6 per cent increase compared to the previous week, and the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic. During the same period, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of deaths, with 36,764 deaths reported in the past seven days," the WHO said in a situation report late on Monday.

In particular, an increase in the weekly case incidence rate was reported across all regions in the last seven days, except for Africa, with the two Americas remaining the worst-hit areas and accounting for over 38 per cent of all new cases reported over the past week.

Meanwhile, Europe showed the greatest increment in the number of fatalities in the past week, with a 27-per cent increase compared to the previous week.

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