Israel to begin first vaccine clinical trials next month
Israel will begin its first clinical trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine next month, authorities said Sunday, as the country grapples with a second wave of infections, AFP reports.
Early in the pandemic, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tasked the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) with developing a vaccine against the virus.
Covid-19 has killed over 2,370 people in the Jewish state since the start of the outbreak there, and has infected more than 300,000, according to official figures.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray in a separation nylon capsules at the Jewish Quarter, in Jerusalem’s Old City, 25 October 2020. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA
On Sunday, authorities announced that the first clinical trials of the “BriLife” vaccine would begin on November 1, as a spokesperson for the defence ministry said the “necessary approvals” had been granted. The trials will be conducted over several months.
“Our final goal is 15 million rations for the residents of the state of Israel and for our close neighbours,” IIBR head Shmuel Shapira was quoted as saying in a statement.
Scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, which has killed over 1.1 million people.
Several dozen vaccine candidates are currently being tested in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced “phase 3” stage involving tens of thousands of volunteers.
Mexico’s health ministry reported on Sunday 4,360 additional cases of the novel coronavirus and 181 more deaths in the country, bringing the official number of cases to 891,160 and the death toll to 88,924.
Health officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump played host Sunday to hundreds of superheroes, unicorns, skeletons and even a miniature version of themselves as part of a Halloween celebration at the White House.
From AP: In years past, the president and first lady personally handed out candy to the costume-clad kids. This year, the treats were provided separately as participants walked along a path on the South Lawn.
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump host a Halloween event at the White House in Washington, US, 25 October 2020. Photograph: Ken Cedeno/Reuters
The kids still briefly met the president and first lady, who waved and offered words of encouragement from a safe distance about how much they liked the costumes. Trump and the first lady have both recently recovered from Covid-19.
Trump was particularly pleased with a young boy with a distinctly Trump head of hair and a partner who did her best Mrs. Trump impersonation. The president motioned for them to turn and pose for the cameras, and they happily agreed.
Children dressed as US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump attend a Halloween event hosted by President Trump and the first lady at the White House in Washington, US, 25 October 2020. Photograph: Ken Cedeno/Reuters
The spooky celebration was changed up a bit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Guests older than 2 were required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The same went for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff giving out candy also wore gloves.
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China reports 161 new asymptomatic cases
China reported 20 new confirmed and 161 new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases on 25 October, the national health authority said on Monday, following a surge in symptomless infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new confirmed cases were imported infections originating from overseas. Of the 161 new symptomless infections, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, 138 were locally transmitted. It did not clarify how many of the infections occured in Xinjiang.
Volunteers disinfect and sterilize amid a new coronavirus outbreak in Urumchi, Xinjiang, China in August. Photograph: Top Photo Corporation/REX/Shutterstock
Kashgar in Xinjiang region on Saturday started testing its 4.75 million people after detecting an asymptomatic patient at a garment factory. Another 137 asymptomatic cases have been reported on25 October due to the tests being conducted.
A total of 85,810 confirmed Covid-19 cases have been reported in mainland China to date, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
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The global aerospace industry has endured its worst quarter ever with record low orders for new aircraft and 12,000 UK jobs already lost or at risk because of the collapse in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aircraft manufacturers received only 13 orders in July and August, according to the aerospace and defence lobby group ADS. No orders were placed in September. That compares with 152 in the same period in 2019.
More than a 10th of the jobs in the UK’s aerospace industry could go as the plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing and their suppliers adjust to lower demand, according to separate figures shown to the Guardian.
At least 12,000 aerospace workers are either being made redundant or are at risk of losing their jobs, according to legally required notices of possible redundancies received by the Unite union. There were 111,000 workers in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance sectors in 2019, according to ADS:
Five aides to US Vice President Mike Pence test positive
The coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the White House itself, with the chief of staff to Mike Pence and four others in the vice-president’s inner circle having tested positive.
Despite Pence being exposed to the disease, he planned to continue an aggressive campaign schedule in the final nine days of the race. The vice-president was scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, North Carolina.
Such unbroken travel plans amounted to a breach of the recommendations of the Trump administration’s own public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They would require the vice-president to be in quarantine for 14 days and always to wear a mask around other people. Pence has frequently been seen maskless in public.
Such blatant disregard for the administration’s own health standards is doubly awkward given that Pence has led the White House coronavirus taskforce since late February. Dr Anthony Fauci, the most senior public health expert on the taskforce, said on Friday meetings had dwindled and Trump had not attended one in months.
The White House said Pence was not required to follow the quarantine rule because he is deemed “essential personnel”. Asked why electioneering was classed “essential”, Meadows said the-vice president continued to do his official work in between campaign stops.
Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University in Virginia, called Pence’s decision to travel “grossly negligent”:
US sees new case highs
A day after the US set a daily record for new coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again.
Data published by Johns Hopkins University showed that 83,718 new cases were reported nationally on Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 reported on Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the US on a single day was 77,362 on 16 July.
Close to 8.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and about 225,000 have died. Both statistics are the world’s highest. India has more than 7.8m infections but its daily numbers have been declining.
The new figures came as the Trump administration made the extraordinary admission that it had abandoned all pretence of trying to conquer the crisis
“We are not going to control the pandemic,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas”:
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.
Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
The United States saw 83,718 new cases reported nationally on Saturday, nearly matching the record 83,757 infections reported on Friday, as US Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will continue campaigning on Sunday, despite his chief of staff and four other top aides having tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, declared a new nationwide state of emergency on Sunday – including a curfew – in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. The Socialist leader told the nation in a televised address that the extraordinary measure will go into effect on Sunday from 11pm to 6am.
The World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard showed a third consecutive daily record high in the number of new confirmed cases. Nearly half of Saturday’s new cases were registered in the WHO’s Europe region, which logged a one-day record high of 221,898 cases.
The WHO chief warned against “vaccine nationalism”, calling for global solidarity in the rollout of any future coronavirus vaccine, as the number of cases soared across the world. In a video address at the opening of the three-day World Health Summit in Berlin, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,“It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively. And the best way to do that is to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries.”
Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Monday reported zero cases of coronavirus for the first time since June, a day after the state delayed the easing of restrictions because of a fresh outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
France registered 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday. It also said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total confirmed death toll to 34,761.
An official from China’s Xinjiang health commission said that 137 new asymptomatic cases have been detected in the region. All of the new cases were linked to a garment factory.
The prime minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte announced a raft of new restrictions and warned that the country’s escalating coronavirus infection rate was already having a worrying impact on hospitals. Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday, up from the 19,644 new infections reported on Saturday.
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez has declared a new nationwide state of emergency in the hope of stemming a resurgence in coronavirus infections. He said: “The reality is that Europe and Spain are immersed in a second wave of the pandemic.”
The number of new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands has risen by more than 10,000 in 24 hours, according to newly released official data.
The US’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told the BBC that he expected news on whether a vaccine is safe and effective by December, but noted that a wide rollout was unlikely “until the second or third quarter of [next] year”. He also acknowledged that Donald Trump’s public statements on several key issues had not “followed the science”.
In Indonesia, the health ministry reported 3,732 new coronavirus infections, and 94 deaths, bringing the totals to 389,712 cases and 13,299 deaths – the highest totals in south-east Asia.
In Hungary, there were 3,149 new cases of coronavirus reported on Sunday, the highest single-day tally and jumping above 3,000 for the first time.
The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas in the United States said it was “extremely disappointed” after the Trump administration pulled out of a deal offering the Christmas legends early access to a Covid-19 vaccine in exchange for promoting it.