STORM CHRISTOPH – Due to severe rainfall and flooding, police are evacuating people from their homes in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, UK
Due to severe rainfall and flooding, police are evacuating people from their homes in Didsbury, Greater Manchester, UK
12,400+ Israelis test POSITIVE for Covid-19 despite receiving Pfizer/BioNTech jab
More than 12,400 people in Israel have tested positive for coronavirus after being vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, including 69 who had received their second dose, the country’s Health Ministry said.
Some 189,000 people were tested for Covid-19 after being vaccinated, with 6.6 percent getting a positive result, according to ministry data reported by Israeli outlets. The majority were apparently infected shortly after receiving the first jab of the two-part vaccine – a period when the inoculation isn’t expected to have kicked in yet.
However, 1,410 people tested positive two weeks after their first injection, by which time partial immunity should have already taken effect.
Moreover, 69 patients became infected with the novel coronavirus despite already having been administered both shots of the vaccine, the ministry said. Israel began administering the second doses almost two weeks ago, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being the first to complete the course.
Pfizer has said that a spike in immunity occurs between Day 15 and Day 21 after the first jab, when the effectiveness of its vaccine increases from 52 to 89 percent. According to earlier trials, the protection offered by the vaccine reaches the 95 percent level a week after the second dose is administered, the pharma giant said.
When it comes to vaccines, the results of clinical trials may differ from how the immunization performs in the field, where it’s administered to a much greater number of people.
On Tuesday, Israel’s coronavirus tsar, Nachman Ash, reportedly complained to Israeli ministers about the insufficient protection provided by the first shot of the American vaccine. It turned out to be “less effective than we had thought” and “lower than Pfizer presented,” Ash said, as cited by Army Radio.
However, the head of the infection unit at Sheba Medical Center – where Netanyahu got his jabs – told Israeli media that the Pfizer vaccine “works wonderfully” after two shots. According to Professor Gili Regev-Yohai, 102 of the medics at the center were tested a week after completing the vaccination course, and all but two of them showed antibody levels between six to 20 times higher than seven days earlier.
Israel is leading the world in terms of pace of vaccination against the new coronavirus. Over the last months, some 2.15 million people received Pfizer/BioNTech jabs, with 300,000 already getting both shots.
Despite already vaccinating more than 20 percent of its own population, Israel doesn’t seem as eager to share immunization with Palestinians in the occupied territories. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization expressed its “concerns” over unequal access to vaccines between Israelis and Palestinian.
A WHO representative for Palestine said that the UN body has been in discussions with Israeli authorities on the possibility of allocating vaccines to the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israeli Health Minister, Yuli Edelstein, has said her department may offer the Palestinian Authoritiy surplus doses after Israelis have received their jabs.
Courtesy of rt.com
‘Extremely loud’ explosion in city centre – at least three people dead in Madrid, Spain
At least three people have died and six others were injured after an “extremely loud” explosion destroyed a residential building belonging to the Catholic Church in Madrid’s city centre.
The blast happened near a nursing home and a school – and videos and images shared on social media showed rubble scattered in the street.
The city’s mayor said early information indicated the blast was caused by a gas leak, and confirmed that one of the bodies has been discovered under the rubble. Someone was working on a boiler at the time.
Two people have been transferred to hospital for further treatment – and one of them is in a serious condition with a head injury.
Rescue teams, firefighters and police are all at the scene.
Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said there was an ongoing fire in the six-storey building devastated by the blast.
It was a complex that provided residential training for priests and also gave meals to homeless people, a neighbour said.
The mayor said a nearby school had suffered minor damage.
The school was believed to be empty at the time, according to TVE, because classes had not resumed yet following a record snowfall in the Spanish capital on 9 January.
All nursing home residents were safe and evacuated, according to police sources.
The mayor said the residents were being taken to a hotel across the street.
A witness, Leire Reparaz, said she heard a loud explosion a few minutes before 3pm local time as she headed to her home near the Puerta de Toledo landmark.
She told the AP news agency: “We didn’t know where the sound came from. We all thought it was from the school.
“We went up the stairs to the top of our building and we could see the structure of the building and lots of grey smoke.”
Another witness, Tania Tapia, said: “Suddenly there was a brutal explosion behind my back and that pushed me forward.
“I didn’t know where it came from, my ears were ringing so I turned around and I saw a lot of smoke and the sidewalk full of debris.”
The explosion happened in Toledo Street. Footage on Twitter showed smoke coming from the building, a number of wrecked cars and debris strewn in the road.
A police spokeswoman said the area was being evacuated but could not confirm the cause of the explosion.
Courtesy of Sky News