Sat, 23 May 2020
WH press secretary reveals Trump's bank details
21:15 WH press secretary reveals Trump's bank details
Revealing a little too much, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany committed a gaffe by disclosing US President Donald Trump's bank information while displaying a cheque donating his quarterly salary to the Department of Health and Human Services.
As McEnany held the cheque to show it to the reporters on Friday, it not only had the $100,000 amount to be given to the HHS but also displayed the president's private bank account and routing numbers, The New York Times reported.
The donation was as per the quarterly tradition of Trump to forgo his $400,000 salary and donate it.
In the past, Trump has donated to the Small Business Administration initiative to help veteran entrepreneurs, to the Office of the Surgeon General to fight the opioid epidemic, and to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, among other places.
According to the nbcnews.com, the donation to HHS is being made to develop new therapies for treating and preventing coronavirus.
"Here is the cheque," McEnany said as she held the cheque, which appeared to be a real Capital One bearing not just the president's name and signature, but also his bank information.
The address of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and other personal details, like accounting and routing numbers, were also visible on the cheque, the nbcnews.com report said.
The New York Times report quoted an administration official as saying that mock checks were never used in the briefing.
20:46 Foreign tourism and La Liga to resume in Spain
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced during a news conference Saturday that "starting in July, we will reactivate the entry of foreign tourism under safe conditions. As of now, foreign tourists can begin to plan their vacation in our country."
Sanchez announced that there will be a tourist season this year and invited all establishments in Spain to get ready to receive national clients at the end of June and foreigners in July.
I encourage Spaniards to start planning their holidays now and take advantage of the wonders that our country has to offer," he said. "Spain needs tourism, and tourism needs security. Safety at origin and safety at destination. That is why we will guarantee that tourists will not run any risks and that they will not bring risks to our country either."
Sports to return: Sanchez also said La Liga will return from the week of June 8."
Sanchez explained that "of course, the ball will roll again under conditions that guarantee maximum health safety for all participants in the competition. Spanish football, we all know, has a massive following in and out of our borders. But it will not be the only recreational activity that we will recover in the coming weeks: museums, cinemas, concerts, theaters and all sports activities will gradually restart."
20:16 Rahul Gandhi doing 'politics of misery' over migrants issue: BJP
The BJP on Saturday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of doing "politics of misery" over the issue of migrants, claiming that his party did nothing to help them in states where it is in power.
The attack from the BJP on the former Congress president came on a day the opposition party released a documentary film on Rahul Gandhi's interaction with a group of migrant labourers last week.
"Gandhi family did nothing to do help migrants in states where they are in power. Migrant workers from UPA-ruled Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Maharashtra were not allowed even to return to their native villages," BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said.
Rahul Gandhi has been "indulging in camera politics". He is visiting and speaking to migrants in non-Congress ruled state not with the intention of giving them relief but to indulge in politics of misery, he added.
The Rajya Sabha MP said Gandhi would have heard the woes of migrants in Rajasthan had he ventured there.
"Alas, Rahul is only interested in politics and not helping migrants. With the entire Gandhi family indulging in politics over migrants, the Congress party is seen by the public as a party fishing in troubled waters and not as a responsible party joining the national effort in mitigating distress of migrants," Rao said.
The Congress has been critical of the handling of migrants issue by the BJP-led central government.
Rahul Gandhi has demanded justice for such workers who are walking hundreds of kilometres to their homes amid the coronavirus lockdown.
19:52 Maha CM, NCP chief meet to discuss COVID-19
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday held a
review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the state.
This was the third meeting on the issue between the two leaders in the last eight days.
The NCP tweeted that its Maharashtra unit chief and the state water resources minister Jayant Patil, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and chief secretary Ajoy Mehta too were present.
The meeting took place after Raut met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari earlier in the day, which a Raj Bhavan statement described as a "courtesy call".
"A review of the current situation in Maharashtra was taken during the meeting. Mumbai and Thane in particular have seen more cases. The arrangements made there (to tackle the disease) were reviewed," Patil told reporters after the meeting.
He also said the state government has set up large scale hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.
Pawar has been insisting on resumption of economic activities in a phased manner and also restarting road transport within the state.
The NCP patriarch has also been insisting on holding dialogue with industrialists and experts to increase imports, exports and inland shipping.
19:28 Google not ready for employees to work from home full-time
While many tech companies have been considering letting employees work from home for as long as they want or at least till the end of the year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai feels that a full-time work from home situation is not feasible for the company.
According to Pichai, Google will always need a human element and thus the company will have to figure out how to handle the current situation well.
In an interview with Wired, Pichai talked about the work from home situation extensively, mentioning that it was something Google has had to adapt to.
Once we realised this was going to be bigger than any of us imagined, two quick thoughts: First, how do we keep our employees safe? So as early as we possibly could, we had to move the company to a distributed, global, work from home model. Second, in some ways Google and Alphabet were built for this moment. We are here to provide people information, help them in moments where they need help. So we realised it was important to step up our products and services but also the help we can give to communities and institutions, he said.
Pichai expects Google to adapt, for sure, but for him, there is still value in traditional, face-to-face environments.
18:59 75 lakh migrants have return home so far: MHA
The Centre on Saturday said around four crore migrant labourers are engaged in various works in different parts of the country and so far 75 lakh of them have returned home in trains and buses since the nationwide lockdown was imposed.
Joint Secretary in the Union home ministry, Punya Salila Srivastava, said the railways have engaged over 2,600 'Shramik' special trains since May 1 for transportation of the migrant workers from different parts of the country to their destinations.
"According to the last census report, there are four crore migrant workers in the country," she said at a press conference here.
Elaborating on the steps taken by the central government for the convenience of migrant workers since March 25, when the nationwide lockdown began, Srivastava said 35 lakh migrant workers have reached their destinations using 'Shramik' special trains, while 40 lakh have travelled in buses to reach their destinations.
The joint secretary said that on March 27, the home ministry had sent an advisory to all states and Union Territories that the issue of migrant workers should be handled with sensitivity and ensure that they don't move during the lockdown.
17:54 Compared our eco package to other countries: FM
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the Centre had studied stimulus packages by other countries before announcing it in the country to revive the economy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this month announced Rs 20 lakh crore special economic package to deal with the situation created by COVID-19 and to make the country self-reliant.
"Before doing this we have compared every announcement made by different countries before us to see what their package consisted of. All that has been studied. Every country has brought in a basket of measures- fiscal, monetary, guarantee, central liquidity, and so on," Sitharaman said during an interaction with BJP leader Nalin Kohli through Facebook.
"To think that all other countries have come up with the only outgo from budget and not as though they've underplayed everything else they've done. On the contrary, they have also gone into liquidity being infused both through the central bank and through their own guarantee and other things," she added.
Sitharaman said that India was no different from these other countries, but added, "The proportion might vary. When developed countries have certain institutions it is possible for them to go through one route and play less on the other route."
Defending the route taken by the Central government, she said the measures taken by them involved attempt to "infuse cash into the hands of people through their Jan Dhan accounts", and added that it will be able to infuse more liquidity into the economy.
The FM had earlier said that the Centre's measures in the special economic package to deal with the impact of coronavirus crisis were aimed at "greater multiplier effect" and it should be through banks for meeting the fixed cost expenditure and for working capital.
17:16 1,671 COVID-19 cases reported in Maha police; toll at 18
At least 18 police personnel, including an officer, have died of COVID-19 in Maharashtra so far, an official said on Saturday.
The Maharashtra police, which is ensuring a strict enforcement of the lockdown in the state, has been severely hit by the pandemic.
As many as 1,671 personnel, including 174 officers and 1,497 other staffers, have contracted the deadly infection so far, the official said, adding that the Mumbai police had accounted for the highest number of infections and casualties in the department.
At least 42 police officers and 499 constables, who had tested positive for COVID-19, have recovered from the infection so far, he added.
Apart from the risk of infection, the police also had to face public ire while enforcing the lockdown in different parts of the state.
16:55 Hit by Amphan, Bengal seeks army's help
The West Bengal government on Saturday sought support of the Indian Army, railways and port for restoring essential infrastructure and services in the cyclone-ravaged areas of the state.
It also urged private entities to provide manpower and equipment for the purpose.
In a series of tweets, the Home Department said that the state government has mobilised maximum strength in a unified command mode for immediate restoration of essential infrastructure and services.
"Army support has been called for; NDRF and SDRF teams deployed; Rlys,Port & private sector too requested to supply teams and equipment (sic)," it tweeted.
It said that drinking water and drainage infrastructure is getting restored fast and the Public Health Engineering Department has been asked to supply water pouches in areas where there is a crisis.
"Generators being hired where necessary. More than a hundred teams from multiple departments and bodies working for cutting of fallen trees which is the key to restoration of power in localities," the Home Department said.
The announcement came after protests in several parts of Kolkata and neighbouring districts over power and water crisis even three days after cyclone 'Amphan' hit the state.
16:12 Lockdown to remain, no decision on flights: Maha
Maharashtra government has said that there has been no change in the policy and that the lockdown will remain.
The statement comes as domestic flights are scheduled to resume services across the nation.
Clarifying on the issue, the Maharashtra government said, "No decision to let flight operations to start from Monday."
The highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 44,582. Maharashtra also ops the tally with 1,517 deaths.
15:39 Rly ferries around 32 lakh migrants in 2,570 Shramik Special trains since May 1
The Railways has ferried around 32 lakh migrant workers on board 2,570 Shramik Special trains since May 1, according to official data.
The Shramik Special trains are being operated primarily on the requests of the states which want to send the migrant workers to their home states. The Railways is bearing 85 per cent of the total cost of running each of the trains while the rest is being borne by the states.
Out of the 2,570 trains, 505 are yet to reach their destination, while 2,065 trains have completed their journey.
According to data with the Railways, Uttar Pradesh (1,246) has received the highest number of Shramik Special trains, followed by Bihar (804) and Jharkhand (124). Among the originating states, Gujarat (759) has used the most services to sent migrant workers home, followed by Maharashtra (483) and Punjab (291).
The coronavirus lockdown has had a devastating impact on the economy as well as on the livelihoods of lakhs of migrant workers. It shone the spotlight on the miseries of the migrant workers whose journeys on foot from several urban centres to their villages hundreds of kilometres away had grabbed headlines for almost the last two months.
15:19 Remdesivir effective against coronavirus: Study
Anti-viral drug remdesivir cuts recovery times in coronavirus patients, according to the full results of a trial published, three weeks after America's top infectious diseases expert said the study showed the medication has "clear-cut" benefits.
Complete results from the research, which was carried out by US government agency the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were published by leading medical periodical the New England Journal of Medicine.
The United States authorised the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals on May 1, followed by Japan, while Europe is considering following suit.
The study found that remdesivir, injected intravenously daily for 10 days, accelerated the recovery of hospitalised COVID-19 patients compared to a placebo in clinical tests on just over a thousand patients across 10 countries.
But the authors of the trial wrote that the drug did not prevent all deaths.
"Given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an anti-viral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient," they said.
About 7.1 percent of patients given remdesivir in the trial group died within 14 days -- compared with 11.9 percent in the placebo group.
14:48 Trump declares churches 'essential,' calls on them to reopen
US President Donald Trump has called on state governors to reopen places of worship currently shut due to transmission fears. Churches and mosques were "essential services", the US president said.
"In America, we need more prayer, not less," Trump said, pledging to 'override' governors who ignored his instructions.
The president does not have direct powers to do this, but he can withdraw federal aid to states.
14:16 Will try to resume intl flights before Aug: Puri
Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri today said: "We will try to start good percentage of international passenger flights before August.
When asked about resuming domestic flights before the end of Lockdown 4.0, the minister said, "There's no contradiction between domestic flights beginning from May 25 and lockdown in India being imposed till May 31."
He also advocated the use of the Aarogya Setu app, stating, "I would recommend Aarogya Setu app to everyone. It's an excellent contact-tracing device. I don't understand the need for quarantine of passenger who has green status on Aarogya Setu app. I would recommend Aarogya Setu app to everyone. It's an excellent contact-tracing device."
13:59 China records no new cases for first time
China has recorded no new coronavirus infections on its mainland in a 24-hour period for the first time since the outbreak began in December.
The National Health Commission also registered no deaths related to Covid-19 during the previous 24 hours. Since the first cases emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, more than five million people have been infected worldwide and 338,000 have died. China itself has confirmed more than 84,000 cases and 4,600 deaths.
However, the authorities' stringent lockdown in Wuhan and the wider Hubei province limited the spread across the Chinese mainland.
The World Health Organization said on Friday that South America is now "a new epicentre" of the pandemic, with Mexico and Brazil both seeing steep rises in the numbers of confirmed cases.
Brazil has registered more than 330,000 infections, overtaking Russia as the country with the second highest number of cases after the US.
13:39 NYC chef turns Michelin-starred eatery into charity kitchen
Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, who is used to being paid for fine dining with exclusive black credit cards, says his richest reward during the COVID-19 crisis is the grateful smiles of poor New Yorkers fed by the Michelin three-starred restaurant he has turned into a charity kitchen.
Cooks at his Manhattan eatery, which was named World's Best Restaurant in 2017 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy, are preparing 3,000 meals a day for frontline workers and underprivileged New Yorkers, most of them distributed at a Harlem church.
"I had a person the other day who said, 'Oh my God, this is the best meal I've ever had,'" said Humm, standing inside his darkened, empty restaurant, which was shuttered in mid-March by the coronavirus pandemic.
Working alongside New York City-based nonprofit Rethink Food, which transforms restaurant leftovers into dishes for the disadvantaged, Humm and his staff have churned out some of the 90,000 meals being served each week to the needy during the pandemic.
"When this crisis started happening and we had to turn off the lights for a minute, we were a little bit in shock like everyone was," Humm said. "But then pretty quickly, we felt like we wanted to help in any way we can."Stripped of its tablecloths and upscale clientele, the dining room looks lonely compared with the activity in the kitchen where meals are prepared for distribution at churches, soup kitchens, community centers and housing projects.Humm transformed the kitchen into a commissary using private donations, and $250,000 donated by American Express, all of which went through Rethink Food.
13:24 Maha's Covid-19 mortality rate down in 1 month
In the past month, Maharashtra Covid-19 mortality rate has fallen from 4.76 per cent to 3.49 per cent, as of Thursday, according to the data from the Maharashtra Health Department.
However, during the same period, the number of deaths went up drastically to 1,454 on Thursday, from 269 deaths on April 22.
On April 22, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the state was 5,649, with a mortality rate of 4.76%. On May 21, the total number of cases in the state was 41,642, with a mortality rate of 3.49%.
As of Saturday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra stood at 44,582, and the number of deaths was 1,517, which resulted in a mortality rate of 3.40%. However, the analysis of Saturday's data is yet to be released by the Maharashtra government.
The mortality rate in Maharashtra has steadily dropped for the past one month. According to the state health department's data, the mortality rate was 4.76% on April 22, 4.24% on April 26, 4.37% on April 30, 4.22% on May 1, 3.85% on May 9, 3.7% on May 14, 3.62% on May 16 and 3.49% on May 21.
The number of tests during this period also went up from around 89,000 on April 22 to 3.22 lakh tests as of Saturday.
12:39 Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh stopped from visiting cyclone-affected areas
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was on Saturday stopped by police from visiting the cyclone-ravaged areas of the South 24 Parganas district, triggering a war of words between the saffron party and the ruling TMC.
Ghosh was on his way to Canning and Basanti, two of the many areas of the district affected by cyclone Amphan, to distribute relief materials.
His car was stopped by the police at Dhalai bridge near Garia area of the district.
"I don't know why I have been stopped from visiting the cyclone-affected areas. The TMC leaders are visiting these places and distributing relief materials. The police is not stopping them. The rule only changes for the BJP leaders," Ghosh said.
His comment came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced an advance assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the cyclone-hit state and an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of each of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Ghosh threatened to organise a sit-in, if he was not allowed to go to the affected areas.
12:26 Bihar to quarantine migrants from 7 states
The Bihar government in view of the coronavirus outbreak said that Migrants returning to the state from Surat, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurugram, Noida, Kolkata and Bengaluru will be kept in quarantine camps and people returning from other places will be home quarantined if they don't show any symptoms.
The sharp rise in numbers in the last few days has ensured that Bihar is now amongst the top ten states with the maximum caseload of novel Coronavirus in the country.
After 380 new cases on Thursday, Bihar reported another 179 on Friday, which took its tally of overall confirmed cases to 2,166.
With that, Bihar moved ahead of Punjab to become the state with the tenth highest caseload. Punjab, incidentally, has slowed down significantly in the last one week, the surge it had seen with a large number of returnees from Nanded in Maharashtra testing positive for the disease seemingly over.
12:02 WB asks Railways not to send Shramik Special trains to state till May 26 in view of Cyclone Amphan
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked the railway ministry not to send Shramik Special trains to the state till May 26 in view of Cyclone Amphan.
The letter from West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha to Chairman of Railway board V K Yadav dated May 22, stated that the state has been severely impacted by Super Cyclone Amphan on May 20-21 which caused extensive damage to the infrastructure.
"As the district administrations are involved in relief and rehabilitation works, it will not be possible to receive special trains for the next few days. It is therefore requested that no train should be sent to West Bengal till May 26," she said.
At least 86 people in West Bengal have died due to Cyclone Amphan. With normal life thrown out of gear by the region's worst weather disaster, the authorities have been scrambling to restore normalcy.
West Bengal has received the least number of Shramik Special trains since such service began to ferry migrant labourers back home amid the coronavirus-forced lockdown.
11:43 Cyclone Amphan toll rises to 85 in Bengal
The death toll due to Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal has risen to 85, as angry Kolkatans resorted to protest and road blockades in various parts of the city over the administration's failure to restore normalcy even after three days.
With normal life thrown out of gear by the region's worst weather disasters, the authorities scrambled in various parts of the state to restore normalcy.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to visit Cyclone Amphan hit South 24 Parganas district on Saturday and take stock of the situation.
Lakhs of people were rendered homeless as Cyclone Amphan cut a path of destruction through half-a-dozen districts of the state on Wednesday, flattening houses, uprooting thousands of trees and swamping low-lying areas.
According to official sources, around 1.5 crore people of the state have been directly affected and more than 10 lakh houses destroyed due to the cyclone.
Although electricity and mobile connection were restored in some parts of Kolkata, and North and South 24 Parganas districts, many areas continued to remain in darkness as power poles had been blown away and communication lines snapped.
11:23 Rahul's meet with migrants now a documentary
The Congress released a documentary film on Saturday on Rahul Gandhi's interaction with a group of migrant labourers last week, demanding justice for such workers who are walking hundreds of kilometres to their homes amid the coronavirus lockdown.
At the end of the documentary, Gandhi says the government should immediately give Rs 7,500 to the 13 crore needy families through direct cash transfer.
The documentary captures the pain and helplessness the migrant labourers and their families are feeling, as they long to return to their villages after losing their means of livelihood in cities due to the lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Gandhi had interacted with a group of migrant labourers near the Sukhdev Vihar flyover in Delhi last Saturday and asked them about their problems as they walked home amid the lockdown.
In an over 16-minute documentary capturing this interaction, Gandhi says that coronavirus has hurt a lot of people, but it has hit the migrant labourers the most.
10:52 Spike in cyber crimes amidst lockdown: Maha home minister
Noting 'spike' in cyber crimes in Maharashtra amidst the coronavirus-induced lockdown, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Saturday warned of a stricter action against those involved in such acts.
The minister also said that the Maharashtra Cyber Department has so far registered 410 offences and arrested 213 persons in connection with these.
He said that there has been 'a big rise' in crimes like spreading provocative content, rumours and objectionable posts against women and creating communal divide using social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
"These wrong things are happening. Please refrain from it. Meanwhile, videos encouraging acid attack and rape too were circulated via TikTok," the minister said in a video message.
"Remember, the Maharashtra Cyber Department is keeping a tab on you. Strict action will be taken against whoever will make such posts and videos," he warned.
The nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24 has been extended in phases till May 31. -- PTI
10:26 Amphan damages world's largest banyan tree
The Amphan cyclone which hit West Bengal a day before the International Day for Biological Diversity on Friday has severely damaged the world's largest banyan tree in the Howrah botanical garden.
This cyclone has also uprooted one of the two 'kalpvriksha', having botanical name as olea cuspidata and also known as wild olive, brown olive or Indian olive, in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Howrah, Allahabad-based scientist Shiv Kumar of Botanical Survey of India on Friday.
Kumar told PTI that the Howrah's botanical garden has the world's largest banyan tree aged 342 years with the circumference of its core stem once measuring 15 meter and that of its peripheral stem now measuring over 1.08 km, said Kumar.
The core stem had been removed in 1925 and the tree now stands only on its external peripheral stems, solely comprising of shoots emanating from its branches and taking roots in the ground, said Kumar, who worked as a scientist in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in Howrah from October 2006 to February 2012.
The picture of the tree after the Thursday's cyclone shows that Amphan has badly damaged the density of the tree's peripheral stem and branches, said Kumar, adding the extent of the exact damage could be ascertained only after its closer inspection.
The Botanical Survey of India uses the picture of this tree as its logo, said Kumar. The banyan tree also happens to be India's national tree. -- PTI
09:42 6,654 Covid cases, 137 deaths in last 24 hrs
JUST IN: Record 6,654 new COVID-19 cases in India in last 24 hours, tally rises to 1,25,101, including 69,597 active cases, says the Union health ministry.
As many as 137 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, death toll climbs to 3,720, it says. -- PTI/ANI
09:30 Vaccine developed in China shows early results
Days after Unite States drugmaker Moderna announced Phase one trial of its COVID-19 vaccine has shown positive results, researchers on Friday reported that a vaccine developed in China appears to be safe and may protect people from the deadly virus.
According to a report in The New York Times, citing early-stage trial, published in online journal Lancet, those who received a single dose of the vaccine produced certain immune cells, called T cells, within two weeks while the antibodies needed for immunity peaked at 28 days after the inoculation.
The trial was conducted by researchers at several laboratories and included 108 participants aged 18-60.
According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide has gone up to 5,209,266.
Dr Daniel Barouch, director of vaccine research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who was not involved in the work, acknowledged that 'this is a promising data' but added that it is 'early data'.
Several teams across the world are in a race to develop a vaccine, considered to be the most effective solution for COVID-19 which has claimed more than 3 lakh lives worldwide.
Apart from Moderna, which announced on Monday about its vaccine showing positive results, Dr Barouch and his colleagues too have published a study showing their prototype vaccine protected monkeys from coronavirus infection.
According to the NYT report, results of just one other human vaccine trial, which has now entered mid-stage human trials have been published in a scientific journal.
The vaccine reported on Friday was made with a virus, called Ad5, modified to carry genetic instructions into a human cell.
The cell begins making a coronavirus protein; the immune system learns to recognise the protein and attack it, in theory preventing the coronavirus from ever gaining a foothold.
In these people, 'their immune systems will essentially rear up and blunt the effect of the vaccine', said Dr Kirsten Lyke, a vaccinologist at the University of Maryland who is leading another coronavirus vaccine trial.
Researchers in China did find that people who had Ad5 antibodies were less likely to develop a strong immune response to the vaccine.
"That may limit the use of this vaccine," said Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
"If you're comparing vaccines, the adenovirus ones so far seem to be on the lower end of the spectrum," he added.
However, the results of this vaccine are based on data from a short period, and it is unclear how long its protection might last.
In addition, the researchers reported to have tested three doses and said that the highest dose seemed to be the most effective.
But people who got the highest dose also experienced the most side effects, such as pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain. -- ANI
09:04 Congress leader Sanjay Jha tests positive for COVID-19
Congress leader and spokesperson Sanjay Jha on Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be under home quarantine for over a week as he is asymptomatic.
He also urged people not to underestimate transmission risks.
'I have tested positive for COVID-19. As I am asymptomatic I am in home quarantine for the next 10-12 days. Please don't underestimate transmission risks, we are all vulnerable. Do take care all,' Jha said in a tweet.
His post came on a day when India recorded its biggest single-day surge of 6,088 COVID-19 cases, taking the nationwide tally to 1,18,447. -- PTI
08:48 Migrant workers sprayed with disinfectant in south Delhi
A group of migrants, waiting outside a Lajpat Nagar school for heath screening, were sprayed with a disinfectant by an area civic body worker on Friday.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation later said it happened by 'mistake' as the worker could not handle the pressure of the jetting machine and its official present at the spot had 'apologised' to the public.
Scores of migrants had gathered outside the Hemu Kalani Senior Secondary School for screening in Lajpat Nagar-3 before boarding a Shramik Special train.
A video clip of the incident was circulated on social media.
A worker engaged in a sanitation drive can be seen spraying disinfectant on some of the migrant workers present there.
'Since the school is in a residential colony, there was huge demand from residents for disinfecting the compound and the road. But due to the pressure of the jetting machine, the worker could not manage it for some moments.
'The staff has already been instructed to be more careful and attentive while doing the job in future. The official present at the site apologised to public,' the SDMC said in a statement.
A massive number of migrant workers and their family have been attempting to reach home, by any means of transportation, while a large number of them have been undertaking the journey on foot. -- PTI
08:16 Hackers leak personal data of 2.9 cr Indians
Cyber criminals have posted personal data of 2.9 crore job-seeking Indians on dark web for free in one of the hacking forums, according to online intelligence firm Cyble.
The company had recently revealed hacking of Facebook and Sequoia-funded Indian education technology firm Unacademy.
'29.1 million Indian jobseekers' personal details leaked in deepweb for free. We usually see this sort of leaks all the time, but this time, the message header got our attention as it included a lot of personal details -- where most of the things are generally static such as education, address etc,' Cyble said in a blog on Friday.
Folders in the name of some of the leading job websites in India also appeared on the screenshot posted by Cyble but the company was investigating the source of the leak at the time of writing this report.
'It appears to have originated from a resume aggregator given the sheer volume and detailed information. We will update this article as new information is identified,' Cyble said.
The cyber intelligence firm said that the breach includes sensitive information such as email, phone, home address, qualification, work experience etc.
'Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for such personal information to conduct various nefarious activities such as identity thefts, scams, and corporate espionage,' Cyble said in a statement. -- Prasoon Srivastava/PTI
01:06 Oxford Covid vaccine enters next stage of trial
University of Oxford researchers working on a vaccine to protect against coronavirus on Friday confirmed that they are moving to the next level as they begin recruiting over 10,000 people for the second phase of human trials.
The first phase of the trial began last month with 1,000 healthy adults aged 55 and under as volunteers.
Now more than 10,200 people, including over 70s and five to 12-year-olds, will be enrolled in the study, to see the effects on their immune system.
A recent study had found that the vaccine, named ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, had shown some promising results in a small study with monkeys.
"The COVID-19 vaccine trial team have been working hard on assessing the safety and immunogenicity of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, and preparing to assess vaccine efficacy," said Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the university's Jenner Institute who is leading the research.
"We have had a lot of interest already from people over the age of 55 years who were not eligible to take part in the phase I study, and we will now be able to include older age groups to continue the vaccine assessment. We will also be including more study sites, in different parts of the country," she said.
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.
For the latest set of volunteers, researchers will be assessing the immune response to the vaccine in people of different ages, to find out if there is variation in how well the immune system responds in older people or children.
"The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults, and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population," said Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group.
The Phase III part of the study involves assessing how the vaccine works in a large number of people over the age of 18.
This group will assess how well the vaccine works to prevent people from becoming infected and unwell with COVID-19.
Adult participants in both the Phase II and Phase III groups will be randomised to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a 'control' for comparison, the university said.
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President for BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, which has a partnership with the university for the production of the vaccine if it is proved effective, said: "The speed at which this new vaccine has advanced into late-stage clinical trials is testament to Oxford's ground-breaking scientific research.
"We will do everything in our power to engage with governments, multilateral organisations and partners around the world to increase production and distribution and ensure rapid, fair and equitable distribution of a globally accessible vaccine."
The study aims to assess how well people across a broad range of ages could be protected from COVID-19 with this new vaccine. It will also provide valuable information on the safety aspects of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.
The team behind the vaccine have previously said they are aiming to have at least a million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by September this year.
However, the United Kingdom government has repeatedly warned that there are no guarantees a vaccine will be discovered against the deadly virus.
The Oxford University trial is among several experimental vaccines being developed worldwide to try and combat the spread of COVID-19 and help lift strict restrictions on human movement in place in most countries. -- PTI