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Amid rising cases of Omicron, a preliminary study by Israeli researchers has shown that the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine boosts antibodies five-fold in just a week after the shot is administered, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday.
Bennett spoke during a visit to the Sheba Medical Center, where Israel launched a trial of a second booster early last week, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel has become the first country to roll out the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to health workers, people aged 60 years old, and those with weakened immune systems. According to Bennett, the initial results show that the fourth dose is as safe as the third. The increase in antibodies after a fourth dose indicates "a very high likelihood that the fourth dose will protect vaccinated people to a great degree, against infection to some degree and against severe symptoms," Bennett was quoted as saying.
Israel registered over 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday. The Health Ministry announced Tuesday, a figure previously reached only at the peak of the third wave in January 2021 and the fourth wave in September.
Israel has become the first country to roll out the fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. | Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
The new surge in cases caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant has been faster than any previous outbreak. Overall, almost 40,000 new virus carriers were identified in the country in the past week, marking a 240 percent increase compared to the previous seven days. The level of breakthrough infections was one of the reasons that brought the Health Ministry to approve an additional shot for the population over 60, the report said. "This is a very, very contagious variant, as we see. Morbidity rises and surges every day. The best answer is the vaccine," said Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash, who got inoculated on Tuesday morning. "We discussed a lot about the fourth vaccine, it took a few days to approve it, but now that we did, we are sure that it will help us as individuals to deal with the disease and help us as a country to deal with the pandemic," he noted. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: covid, vaccine, antibodies, booster, israel, research, omicron)
Amid warnings over a new coronavirus variant, a number of countries, including the UK, Israel, Italy and Singapore have moved to restrict travel from South Africa and other countries in the region.
In the past, governments have taken days, weeks or months to issue travel restrictions in response to new variants, The New York Times reported on Friday.
This time, restrictions came within hours after the South African authorities identified a concerning new coronavirus variant with mutations -- and hours before health officials from the country were scheduled to discuss the variant with the World Health Organisation (WHO), it added.
The UK and Israel announced bans on flights from South Africa and several neighbouring countries on Thursday, citing the threat of the new variant.
The UK's flight ban applies to six countries -- South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe -- and begins on Friday.
"More data is needed but we are taking precautions now," UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Twitter.
The governments of Italy, Malta and Singapore announced on Friday that they would impose similar restrictions, the report said.
"Our scientists are at work to study the new B.1.1.529 variant," Italy's Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said in a statement, using the variant's scientific name.
European Union's executive arm President Ursula von der Leyen also said in a Twitter post on Friday that it would propose restricting air travel to European countries from southern Africa because of concerns about the variant.
In the past two days, scientists detected the variant after observing an increase in infections in South Africa's economic hub surrounding Johannesburg. So far only a few dozen cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel, and Botswana.
In a statement posted on Friday on a government website, South Africa said it would urge the UK to reconsider its travel restrictions.
"The UK's decision to temporarily ban South Africans from entering the UK seems to have been rushed, as even the World Health Organisation is yet to advise on the next steps," the statement reads.
In December last year, South Africa was the first nation to report the appearance of the Beta variant, which has now spread to nearly 70 countries.
Keywords: Coronavirus, Covid-19, United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, Singapore
An Israeli medical delegation to India holds a ‘Woman Health Clinic’; will work five days a week till November 19
An Israeli medical delegation from Sourasky Medical Centre in Tel-Aviv, led by gynaecologist Dr Ronit Almog, held a 'Woman Health Clinic' here on Tuesday to create awareness about women's health issues in the urban slums of South and North Delhi.
The clinics will go on for five days till November 19 in Sangam Vihar, South Delhi, and Mukandpur, North Delhi. Eminent doctors from Israel and India participated in these clinics.
Ambassador of Israel to India, Naor Gilon said: "We are happy to be part of this important collaboration that promotes women's health and awareness education. Israel and India share strong values of friendship, but equally important are the relations between the Indian and Israeli people. Through cooperation and the combination of India and Israel's medical prowess, we can find effective solutions that will help people on both sides, as well as the world."
The Embassy of Israel in partnership with NGO Khushii and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute is conducting the health clinic. This initiative aims to increase awareness of women's health issues including cancer prevention and early detection. The delegation includes four senior doctors in obstetric, gynaecologists, women oncologists and breast surgeons.
The clinic will provide free services like blood pressure, blood sugar check-ups, disbursement of medicines, gynaecological check-ups and pap smear tests. Upon examination, patients may be referred to specialist doctors, if needed, for free diagnosis and treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute.
Dr Ronit Almog said, "I'm thrilled to visit India and be part of this important collaboration between the Israel Embassy, KHUSHII organization and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute.
The clinics also encompass awareness education sessions by expert community health specialists on topics such as family planning, maternal anaemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer and breastfeeding. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Israel, Medical Facilities, Women, Health, New Delhi
Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon on Thursday said that the Pegasus snooping issue is India's internal matter.
The NSO is a private company and it has a license to sell its software to the government entities only, he added.
Gilon said: "This is an internal issue of India and I can't speak beyond this point. This is the only main requirement that... under the requirements, they cannot sell it to non-governmental actors".
Responding to a query if the Indian government will contact them, he said that he has no idea whether the Indian government has contacted them or not.
Referring to the explosion that took place last year near the Israeli embassy in Delhi, he said that the perpetrators are yet to be nabbed; however, the investigating agencies of both countries are cooperating with each other.
"We are thankful to the government of India for providing security to all embassy personnel," Gilon said.
Talking about the newly-formed quad with Israel, India, the US, and UAE, the Ambassador said it is totally an economic forum based on mutual cooperation among the participant countries.
"It has nothing to do with the military component as of now," he added.
Talking about Afghanistan, Gilon said that the country should not be used for extremism.
"There should not be any human rights violation and women and children should not suffer there", he commented.
Saying that Israel is a technologically sound country but it cannot go for industrial manufacturing, the partnership between India and Israel can work better for industrial productions.
Sharing the details of the recently-concluded visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he said that the visit was most successful in terms of bilateral relations.
Jaishankar met all important Ministers of the Israeli government and also met the Indian Diaspora, the Indian Jews who have recently settled there.
"It was a very warm visit, very friendly which I think emphasized the strategic partnership declared during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Israel. I think that the visit was in the spotlight of 30 years of diplomatic relations which we are going to celebrate on January 29 next year," Gilon added. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Israel Politics, Indian Diaspora, Pegasus issues, Pegasus snooping issue, a partnership between India and Israel.