A man receives a dose of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine a at a vaccination centre for the Yandex Go drivers and couriers in Moscow on June 25, 2021. (PHOTO / AFP)
ADDIS ABABA / MOSCOW / LONDON / RABAT / BRUSSELS / TUNIS / JOHANNESBURG / HAVANA / QUITO / BERLIN / MEXICO CITY / BUENOS AIRES / FREETOWN / RIO DE JANEIRO / LISBON / KYIV / MADRID / ATHENS / SOFIA / KAMPALA - Some 23 million people in Russia have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, out of a population of more than 144 million, the TASS news agency cited Health Minister Mikhail Murashko as saying on Monday.
Russian officials have complained publicly about how slowly vaccinations are progressing even though COVID-19 shots are widely available, and have introduced an array of measures to coax and compel people to get inoculated.
Russia reported 21,650 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 7,246 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,472,941.
The government coronavirus task force said 611 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 133,893.
The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to COVID-19 from April 2020 to April 2021.
Spain will demand a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination from British tourists coming to the country after letting them in freely for more than a month, Foreign Minister Arancha GonzalezLaya said on Monday.
"British citizen will require a certification of full vaccination or a negative PCR (72hrs) to enter Spain," she said on Twitter.
The new rules will be published in the official gazette on Tuesday and come into force 72 hours later, she added in another message.
Iceland is abolishing all domestic COVID-19 restrictions, with officials saying 87 percent of those 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.
The island nation, with a population of about 369,000, has seen 6,637 cases, with 30 deaths. About 48 percent of the nation is fully vaccinated, which puts them in line with the rate in the UK and just above the US rate, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
Iceland could be one of the first European countries to end restrictions, Iceland Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said in announcing the move in a news briefing Friday. The limits will officially end on Saturday.
Portugal imposed a quarantine on some arrivals from the UK, in the latest sign that European governments are becoming more cautious about easing travel rules amid a rise in coronavirus cases caused by the delta variant.
Shares of airline companies fell, after the Portuguese government said that starting Monday, passengers from Britain who haven’t been fully vaccinated must isolate for 14 days.
The change marks a further setback for airline companies, with the new restrictions hitting just as the summer season kicks off in southern Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested the entire European Union should coordinate its rules closely and be more cautious about allowing entry to travelers from external countries. The EU’s COVID-19 travel certificate becomes available July 1.
Irish discount carrier Ryanair Holdings Plc and its UK rival EasyJet Plc declined 2.4 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, as of 9:23 am local time on Monday. British Airways owner IAG SA, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Air France-KLM, the region’s three large flag carriers, also slipped.
Since May 17, Portugal has been allowing UK tourists to enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test. Earlier this month, the UK removed Portugal from its green list, reversing an earlier step to lighten travel restrictions.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 5,389,915 as of Sunday afternoon, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The Africa CDC, the specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union, said the death toll from the pandemic stands at 140,836 while 4,732,109 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease.
The Argentine government on Sunday called for national unity to overcome the pandemic, as it mourned more than 92,000 people who died from COVID-19 in the country.
"We are here to remember each of the people who were fatal victims of the pandemic. Each of them had a name, a life," said Argentine President Alberto Fernandez during a ceremony held at the Kirchner Cultural Center of Buenos Aires.
"With this pandemic, we are witnessing a true cataclysm that is plaguing humanity. The millions of deaths have shocked the entire world, as well as the almost 100,000 deceased in our own country," he added.
Argentina reported on Sunday 12,105 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 4,405,247, the Ministry of Health said.
In the same period, 251 more deaths were reported, raising the national death toll to 92,568, it added.
Brazil registered 739 more deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 513,474, the health ministry said Sunday.
A total of 33,704 new infections were detected, raising the total caseload to 18,420,598, the ministry said.
Bulgaria has recorded its first day with zero COVID-19 deaths since Sept. 28 last year, keeping the country's total death toll at 18,027, official data from Bulgaria's COVID-19 information portal showed Monday.
Meanwhile, 16 more confirmed cases were reported in the country in the past day, the smallest daily jump in cases since June 8, 2020, raising the nationwide tally to 421,531, it showed.
Nearly 1.73 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the Balkan country, with 786,336 people having been fully vaccinated.
Cuba has registered 2,698 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day, the highest daily figure since March of last year, the Ministry of Public Health reported on Sunday.
The ministry's director of hygiene and epidemiology, Francisco Duran, said that the country's total number of cases has reached 182,354 and the death toll to 1,241, with another 10 fatalities reported in the last day.
Denmark’s review of an outbreak of a mink variation of virus among humans last fall revealed signs of antibody resistance among those with the variant, the country’s top virologists said Monday in a statement.
Authorities also warned that all COVID-19 infections among animals should be monitored closely to prevent new dangerous variants. Denmark decided to cull its entire mink population in November to prevent a mass outbreak of the mink variant amid concerns it could reduce vaccine efficiency significantly.
Ecuador registered 974 new cases and 14 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 454,336 and the death toll to 15,874, the Ministry of Public Health reported on Sunday.
The province of Pichincha, which leads the nation in infections, reached 161,855 cases on Sunday, with 3,166 deaths and an incidence rate of 5,014 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Ethiopia registered 54 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 275,935 as of Sunday evening, the country's Ministry of Health said.
The ministry said five new deaths and 553 more recoveries were reported on Sunday, bringing the national death toll to 4,314 and total recoveries to 259,044.
Germany expects drugmaker Moderna Inc to deliver COVID-19 vaccines faster than expected, helping it ramp up vaccinations in coming months, the health ministry said on Sunday.
Moderna will increase its deliveries to 1.33 million doses a week in July from 733,000 previously expected, raising the figure to 2.57 million a week in August and 2.95 million a week in September, the ministry said.
Moderna said last week it hopes to be able to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines it has promised to Germany more quickly than originally planned, without giving figures.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Saturday that supply of vaccines in Germany will soon outstrip demand, which will allow it to offer shots to passers-by in city centres or at places of worship.
The government will deliver an additional 5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 1 million from Johnson & Johnsonto the regions next week, the ministry said.
Germany has now fully vaccinated 35 percent of its total population, while 53 percent have had a first shot, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) public health agency reported on Saturday.
Also, Germany will attempt to ban British travellers from the European Union regardless of whether or not they have had a COVID-19 vaccine, The Times reported on Monday.
The German chancellor wants to designate Britain as a "country of concern" because the Delta variant of the coronavirus is so widespread, the newspaper said.
The plans will be discussed by senior European and national officials on the EU's integrated political crisis response committee and will be resisted by Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal, the newspaper added.
German chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Chequers next week.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 219 to 3,726,929, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.
The reported death toll rose by eight to 90,762, the tally showed.
Coronavirus cases worldwide surpassed 181.13 million while the global death toll topped 3.92 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday that young people who take the first shot against the COVID-19 disease will be eligible for a cash reward, another incentive offered to Greeks as part of his government's drive to boost vaccination rates.
"With the first jab of the vaccineε (they) will get a prepaid card of 150 euros," Mitsotakis told a ministerial meeting.
With coronavirus cases easing, Greece last week ended the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors. Effective on Monday, fully vaccinated Greeks can also go to work or to gyms without the need of self-tests.
Also, all tourists from Russia will need to present a negative PCR or rapid test for COVID-19 to enter Greece as of June 30, even if they are vaccinated.
Greece amended its policy given the rise in delta variant cases in Russia, the tourism ministry said Sunday. All tourists from Russia will also be tested for coronavirus upon their arrival.
Ireland’s prime minister said the government will decide early this week on whether to delay a planned reopening of indoor hospitality venues beyond July 5 over concerns about the delta variant.
Nphet, the Irish public health agency, is likely to meet on Monday in advance of a planned Tuesday Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said Sunday on RTE Television, according to the Irish Independent newspaper.
Martin said the nation’s calculus is different now from when it locked down over Christmas. Data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control show Ireland has the highest uptake in Europe of Covid vaccines among people 50 or older.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has since Sunday morning been in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the government.
The prime minister, who will be in isolation for 10 days, is currently showing mild symptoms (fever and headache) and will continue to perform his duties by teleworking, the government said in a press release.
Bettel tested negative just before the two-day European Council began on Thursday and he wasn’t in close contact with any of the leaders, an EU spokesman said on Twitter.
“During the European Council, all sanitary measures were in place and the meeting was organized so as to ensure that social distancing could be observed at all times,” the spokesman wrote.
According to local media, Bettel, 48, received a first AstraZeneca vaccine dose on May 6. He attended a European Union summit in Brussels on June 24-25.
Mexico’s health ministry on Sunday reported 2,384 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and 43 more fatalities, bringing the totals to 2,505,792 infections and 232,564 deaths.
Morocco's COVID-19 tally rose to 529,676 on Sunday as 452 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours.
The death toll from the virus rose by four to 9,277 in the country, while 215 people were in intensive care units, the Moroccan Health Ministry said in a statement.
The number of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 reached 8,822,967 in the North African state, where a total of 9,822,096 first doses have been administered, the statement added.
Passengers arriving in Portugal from Britain must quarantine for 14 days from Monday if they are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Portuguese government said in a statement late on Sunday.
The new rule, which will remain in place until at least July 11, comes amid a surge in cases in Portugal, where the number of daily new COVID-19 infections is back to February levels, when the country of just over 10 million was still under a strict lockdown.
Daily positive cases have also been rising in Britain for a month.
Britons arriving in Portugal by air, land or sea must show proof they are fully vaccinated or self isolate for 14 days at "home or at a place indicated by health authorities," the government said in a statement.
Britain, one Portugal's biggest sources of foreign tourists, removed the southern European destination from its quarantine-free travel list earlier this month. Germany declared Portugal to be a "virus-variant zone" last week, a measure that will trigger severe restrictions on travel to and from the country.
Portugal, which faced its worst battle against the coronavirus earlier this year, is on Britain's amber list, meaning holidaymakers must self-isolate for 10 days when they return home and take expensive COVID-19 tests.
Portuguese health authorities have blamed the more contagious Delta variant, first identified in India but rapidly spreading in Britain too, for the recent rise in infections. Over 70 percent of COVID-19 cases in the Lisbon area are from the Delta variant.
Sierra Leone reported seven COVID-19 related deaths within the past 48 hours, bringing the West African country's pandemic response to a critical phase, the health authorities said Sunday.
The country also recorded 75 positive COVID-19 cases out of 556 samples in the past 24 hours, said Solomon Jamiru, spokesperson for the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Center.
The 34 Military Hospital, one of the main referral centers for suspected and positive COVID-19 cases, cannot accommodate more cases, and the country's healthcare system is not prepared if cases get critical, Jamiru said.
As of Sunday, Sierra Leone has reported a total of 5,306 COVID-19 cases with 93 deaths.
South Africa will tighten COVID-19 restrictions for 14 days as current containment measures are insufficient to cope with the speed and scale of new infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
The country, the worst-hit on the African continent in terms of recorded cases and deaths, is in the grip of a "third wave" of infections.
It recorded almost 18,000 new cases on Saturday, approaching the peak of daily infections seen in a second wave in January, and local scientists say the Delta coronavirus variant first identified in India seems to be spreading fast.
"Additional restrictions are necessary... Our focus is on limiting social contacts while preserving the economy," Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.
Under the measures announced, all gatherings will be prohibited, there will be a curfew from 9 pm to 4 am and the sale of alcohol will be banned.
Schools will start closing from Wednesday but beaches and parks will remain open. Restaurants will only be able to sell food for takeaway or delivery.
"We will assess the impact of these interventions after 14 days to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted," Ramaphosa said.
South Africa recently received 1.4 million doses of the Pfizevaccine via the COVAX Facility and an additional 1.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the president added.
So far the vaccine rollout in South Africa has been slow, with only around 2.7 million doses administered among a total population of 60 million.
Tunisian Health Ministry on Sunday reported 3,524 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections in the country to 407,017.
The death toll from the virus rose by 75 to 14,654 in Tunisia, while the tally of recoveries reached 347,307, the ministry said in a statement.
The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the North African country reached 2,979, including 579 in intensive care units and 132 others mechanically ventilated, it said.
Uganda on Monday resumed COVID-19 vaccination for health workers and those due to receive a second AstraZeneca jab after a three-week suspension.
Uganda's Ministry of Health said in a statement that the campaign will last one month, using over 175,200 AstraZeneca doses it received this month.
Early this month, the government suspended the vaccination drive due to a shortage of doses.
Uganda expects to receive an additional 882,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility next month to address the nationwide stockout.
A batch of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines are also expected to arrive in the east African country next month, according to the ministry.
The Telegraph reported that UK’s defense secretary and Britain’s top six military commanders are self isolating after the head of the Armed Forces tested positive.
Chief of the Defence Staff Nick Carter started a 10-day isolation period late last week following his test, the newspaper said, citing the Ministry of Defence.
The other officials were told to stay home after coming into “close contact” with him at a meeting, the newspaper said, citing defense sources it didn’t identify.
Also, Britain's mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign has weakened the link between infections and deaths but it has not yet been completely broken, the head of a scientific advisory body to the government said on Sunday.
Peter Horby, chair of the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that Britain was seeing a "much lower level of hospitalization".
He was asked if there was enough data to say vaccinations had broken the link between the virus and serious illness and death.
"They've certainly weakened the link," Horby said of the vaccination program, which has given a first dose to more than 80 percent of the adult population and a second dose to more than 60 percent, according to official data.
"We're definitely seeing increasing infection rates, but what we're seeing is a much lower level of hospitalization, so that link is really, really much weaker which is really fantastic but it's not completely broken."
The UK reported the fewest daily coronavirus cases in five days and the number of deaths fell by half, a potential sign that the recent surge in cases linked to the delta variant may be nearing its peak. A total of 14,876 new cases were reported Sunday, down from 18,270 on Saturday, with deaths declining to 11 from 23 on Saturday.
The success of the country’s vaccine campaign - more than 84 percent of adults have had at least one shot - has limited the impact of the latest outbreak with fewer people getting serious cases or requiring hospitalization than in the previous waves.
Ukraine reported nine deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily total since July 19, health ministry data showed on Monday.
The country has been seeing a sharp drop in new infections and earlier this month lifted many domestic restrictions, while extending some until Aug. 31.
It also relaxed travel requirements for most destinations, but tightened border controls and obliged visitors from countries affected by the COVID-19 Delta variant to take a mandatory antigen test.
Ukraine reported 285 new cases over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 2.23 million.
The country’s total death toll stands at 52,295.
The US will provide Honduras with 1.5 million doses of the Moderna Inc vaccine through COVAX, the vaccine sharing initiative.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the donation on Twitter.
The United States has administered 323,327,328 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Sunday morning, and distributed 381,282,720 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Those figures are up from the 322,123,103 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by June 26 out of 381,276,030 doses delivered.
The agency said 179,261,269 people had received at least one shot, while 153,028,665 in the United States are fully vaccinated as of Sunday.
The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer/BioNTech, as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine as of 6 am EDT (1000 GMT) on Sunday.
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