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COVID-19

Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 85 new cases, total 34,451

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(Last Updated On: July 12, 2020)

Afghanistan has recorded 85 new Coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest number in daily cases in the last two months.

In a daily COVID-19 update released on Sunday, the Ministry of Public Health said the cases were reported in Kabul (14), Herat (18), Kandahar (5), Bamyan (20), Nangarhar (4), Takhar (10), Kunduz (3), Badakhshan (8), Wardak (1), Laghman (1), and Kunar (1).

It brings the total infections to 34,451 in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, 16 Coronavirus patients have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities to 1010 in the country.

According to the updates, the death cases were registered in Kabul (12), Herat (2), and Kandahar (2).

The Health Ministry further said that 81 patients have recovered and fully discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours.

So far, 21,216 people have recovered from the virus in Afghanistan since the first COVID-19 case was detected in Herat about four months ago.

There are 12,684,409 cases tested positive worldwide, with 564,506 deaths and 6,981,170 recoveries.

COVID-19

World Bank approves COVID-19 aid package of $380m for Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

The World Bank has approved a financial package of $380 million to help Afghanistan cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Afghan families. 

The money will go towards helping households, support critical food supply chains, and provide emergency support to farmers.

The aid package, from dozens of donors, is made up of two grants that will go towards specific projects. 

“The living conditions of millions of Afghan families have severely worsened due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. 

“These grants will help the Government of Afghanistan address the urgent needs of most households and ensure that Afghan farmers can continue to produce food at a time when imports and exports are severely disrupted. This will extend economic opportunities and create jobs for the wider rural population,” he said.

A $280 million grant will fund the COVID-19 Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households (REACH) Project. 

This project will benefit some 2.9 million households across Afghanistan. 

The second grant, of $100 million, will fund the Emergency Agriculture and Food Supply Project (EATS). 

The project aims to improve food security by increasing local food production and strengthening critical commercial food supply chains, especially wheat as the staple crop for over 70 percent of the Afghan population. 

The project will also provide short-term employment in rural areas in the development of productive assets such as irrigation schemes. 

In rural areas, measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted farming, leaving Afghan farmers unable to sow their crops on time, while in urban areas food prices are rising with shortages of food supply becoming more urgent. 

According to the World Bank,  the COVID-19 Relief Effort for Afghan Communities and Households Project will be implemented through the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG), and the Kabul Municipality. 

 

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COVID-19

Anxious WHO implores world to ‘do it all’ in long war on COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: August 3, 2020)

The World Health Organization warned on Monday that there might never be a “silver bullet” for COVID-19 in the form of a perfect vaccine and that the road to normality would be long, with some countries requiring a reset of strategy.

Reuters reported that more than 18.14 million people around the world are reported to have been infected with the disease and 688,080​ have died, according to a Reuters tally, with some nations that thought they were over the worst experiencing a resurgence.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan exhorted nations to rigorously enforce health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, and testing.

“The message to people and governments is clear: ‘Do it all’,” Tedros told a virtual news briefing from the U.N. body’s headquarters in Geneva. He said face masks should become a symbol of solidarity around the world.

“A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and we all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection. However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment – and there might never be.”

The WHO head said that, while the coronavirus was the biggest health emergency since the early 20th century, the international scramble for a vaccine was also “unprecedented”.

But he underscored uncertainties. “There are concerns that we may not have a vaccine that may work or its protection could be for just a few months, not more. But until we finish the clinical trials, we will not know.”

“THE WAY OUT IS LONG”

Ryan said countries with high transmission rates, including Brazil and India, needed to brace for a big battle: “The way out is long and requires a sustained commitment,” he said, calling for a “reset” of approach in some places.

“Some countries are really going to have to take a step back now and really take a look at how they are addressing the pandemic within their national borders,” he added.

Asked about the U.S. outbreak, which White House coronavirus experts say is entering a “new phase”, he said officials seemed to have set out the “right path” and it was not the WHO’s job to do so.

The WHO officials said an advance investigation team had concluded its China mission and laid out the groundwork for further efforts to identify the origins of the virus.

The study is one of the demands made by top donor the United States which plans to leave the body next year, accusing it of being too acquiescent to China.

A larger, WHO-led team of Chinese and international experts is planned next, including in the city of Wuhan, although the timing and composition of that were unclear. Ryan said China had already given some information but knowledge gaps remained.

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No end in sight to COVID crisis, its impact will last for ‘decades’

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(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee has warned that there is no end in sight yet to the COVID-19 public health crisis that has so far infected more than 17 million people and killed over 650,000 people. 

Following its fourth emergency meeting, the emergency committee, convened by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “unanimously agreed” the outbreak still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. 

In a statement issued on Saturday, the WHO highlighted the “anticipated lengthy duration” of the pandemic, noting “the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts.” 

‘Once-in-a-century health crisis’

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come”, Tedros told the Committee in his opening remarks on Friday. 

“Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control.” 

The Committee made a range of recommendations to both WHO and Member States. 

It advised the agency to continue to mobilize global and regional multilateral organizations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and response and to support Member States in maintaining health services, while also accelerating the research and eventual access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. 

It advised countries to support these research efforts, including through funding.

The committee also advised countries to strengthen public health policies to identify cases, and improve speedy contact tracing, “including in low-resource, vulnerable, or high-risk settings and to maintain essential health services with sufficient funding, supplies, and human resources.” 

Countries were also advised by the committee to implement proportionate measures and advice on travel, based on risk assessments, and to review these measures regularly.

 

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