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5.5-magnitude earthquake strikes 180km off Okinawa, Japan

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Israel reports 16,757 COVID-19 cases, 281 deaths

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

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Jerusalem, May 26 : The Israeli health ministry has reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number in the country to 16,757.

After four consecutive days without death cases, the ministry on Monday reported two new fatalities, bringing the death toll from the COVID-19 to 281, Xinhua reported.

The number of patients in serious condition decreased from 44 to 41, out of 115 patients currently hospitalized, the lowest number of hospitalized patients since March 12.

The number of recoveries increased by 154 to 14,457, while the active cases decreased to 2,019.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

China and Israel have cooperated on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 11, the Tel Aviv Municipality Hall, a landmark in the Israeli city, was illuminated with the colours of China’s national flag, showing solidarity with China in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

On March 19 and April 1, two video conferences were held between Chinese doctors and Israeli counterparts to share experience in containing the virus’ spread and treatment of the infected patients.

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Judiciary, govt failed migrant workers: Congress

The court took the cognizance after several petitions were filed, highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Worker in India

New Delhi, May 26 : The judiciary and the government had failed labourers, said the Congress, here on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of miseries of migrant workers, stranded across the country due to the lockdown announced to contain Covid-19 spread.

Terming it one of the worst case of reverse migration, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the rights that couldn’t be enforced on time were meaningless.

“With due respect, the Supreme Court taking cognizance of labourers’ issue after more than 60 days of harsh living and over 80 deaths, is a case of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’,” he said.

The Supreme Court said the media reports had continuously been showing the unfortunate and miserable condition of migrant labourers, walking on foot and cycling long distances.

Issuing notice to the Centre and all states/Union Territories, an apex court Bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah, asked them to submit their responses looking into the urgency of the matter.

Stating that the petition will be taken up on Thursday, the Bench asked the Solicitor General to assist the court and bring to its notice all measures taken and to be taken by the Centre by the next date of hearing.

The Bench posted the hearing for May 28 and asked the Registry to serve a copy to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta as well states and UTs.

“Although the central and the state governments have taken measures, yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation,” the Bench said.

The court took the cognizance after several petitions were filed, highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Stressing the need for a helping hand to the migrant labourers, the apex court said, “They (migrants) have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on foot, cycles or other modes of transport.”

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Novavax begins clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine in Australia

US biotech firm Novavax begins Covid-19 vaccine trials on Australian volunteers after getting $388mn from Bill Gates-backed fund

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Bill Gates Covid Vaccine

Sydney, May 26 : US-based biotechnology company Novavax is testing a new coronavirus vaccine on human subjects for the first time, launching a phase one clinical trial with a massive grant from an agency founded by Bill Gates, kicking off a storm of concerns online.

Preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the Phase 1 portion of the trial are expected in July 2020, Novavax said on Monday.

“Administering our vaccine in the first participants of this clinical trial is a significant achievement, bringing us one step closer toward addressing the fundamental need for a vaccine in the fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic,” said Stanley Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax.

“We look forward to sharing the clinical results in July and, if promising, quickly initiating the Phase 2 portion of the trial.”

The Phase 1/2 clinical trial is being conducted in two parts. The Phase 1 portion of the trial is enrolling approximately 130 healthy participants 18 to 59 years of age at two sites in Australia.

The Phase 2 portion is expected to be conducted in multiple countries, including the US, and would assess immunity, safety and Covid19 disease reduction in a broader age range.

The trial is being supported by the recently announced funding arrangement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organizations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics.

NVX-CoV2373 includes Novavax’ proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses and stimulate high levels of neutralising antibodies.

Novavax said it identified NVX-CoV2373 as its lead SARS-CoV-2 candidate following pre-clinical testing that demonstrated high immunogenicity and high levels of neutralising antibodies.

The availability of a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 is well-recognised as a key tool to control the pandemic. At the same time, the efforts needed to rapidly develop, evaluate and produce this at scale are enormous.

According to the WHO, it is important to evaluate as many vaccines as possible as we cannot predict how many will turn out to be viable.

To increase the chances of success, it is critical to test all candidate vaccines until they fail, the WHO said, adding that it is working to ensure that all of them have the chance of being tested at the initial stage of development.

Over 120 vaccines have been proposed across the world including in India.

There are currently several vaccines in clinical evaluation, and about 70 in pre-clinical evaluation.

India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that at least four of the 14 candidate vaccines for novel coronavirus in the country may enter the clinical trial stage very soon.

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