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COVID-19

China urges faster COVID-19 testing amid latest outbreak

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(Last Updated On: October 26, 2021)

China is demanding faster and more accessible COVID-19 testing services in its latest effort to reinforce a zero-tolerance policy against the virus, even when cities have already scrambled to test millions in just a few days amid outbreaks.

Frequent testing, and sometimes mass testing, is standard practice in China’s containment of domestically transmitted outbreaks in the past year, but health authorities say testing services remain unsatisfactory in parts of China amid flare-ups, Reuters reported.

“Small clusters and sporadic infections have occurred in some areas, exposing problems such as the unreasonable locations of nucleic acid testing agencies, inconvenient services and delays in the returning of results,” state media reported on Tuesday, citing the National Health Commission (NHC).

China is facing a new wave of infections involving nearly 200 locally transmitted symptomatic cases in 12 provincial areas since October 17. Many of the infected were from remote parts of northwest China without as much health resources as major cities.

NHC said testing agencies should provide 24-hour services to the public and strive to have results within six hours for those who volunteer to be tested, according to state media reports.

NHC said in September that cities with over 5 million people should have the capacity to test everyone within three days.

Since the new coronavirus was found in late 2019, mainland China has reported 96,840 confirmed cases with symptoms, including both local and imported infections, with fatalities totalling 4,636.

COVID-19

US braces as Omicron ‘almost definitely here’

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(Last Updated On: November 29, 2021)

Americans have been advised to prepare to eventually encounter the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, but US health officials on Sunday said the travel ban starting Monday on most travelers from southern Africa should help buy time to assess any new risk.

“Well, it’s almost definitely here already, just looking at the number of cases coming off planes this weekend. It’s almost a certainty that there have been cases that have gotten into the United States.”

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday that while much is not known about the variant, vaccination remains key, Reuters reported.

“If you talk to people in vaccine circles, people who are working on a vaccine, they have a pretty good degree of confidence that a booster vaccine, so three full doses of vaccine, is going to be fairly protective against this new variant.”

Thirty percent of the US population remains unvaccinated – possibly undermining the nation’s recovery nearly two years after COVID-19’s emergence.

Rising cases as colder weather forces more people indoors have already overwhelmed some hospital systems and led some US states, including New York, to declare emergencies.

Omicron was first detected in southern Africa, igniting a flurry of travel bans restricting passengers from several southern African countries – something South African President Cyril Ramaphosa strongly pushed back against in a speech on Sunday.

“These restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our southern African sister countries.”

The variant has now also been confirmed in Australia, Hong Kong, the U.K., Europe and the middle east.

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New coronavirus variant Omicron keeps spreading, Australia detects cases

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2021)

The new Omicron coronavirus variant kept spreading around the world on Sunday, with two cases detected in Australia, even as more countries tried to seal themselves off by imposing travel restrictions.

Health officials in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, said two passengers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday evening had tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Both people were asymptomatic, fully vaccinated and in quarantine, NSW Health said. Another 12 passengers from southern Africa were also in 14 days of hotel quarantine, while around 260 other passengers and aircrew have been directed to isolate.

The Australian cases were the latest indication that the variant may prove hard to contain. First discovered in South Africa, it has since been detected in Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong. Austria was investigating a suspected case on Sunday.

The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

Many countries have imposed a wave of travel bans.

In the most far-reaching effort to keep the variant at bay, Israel announced late on Saturday it would ban the entry of all foreigners and reintroduce counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology to contain the spread of the variant.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective vaccines are against Omicron.

Many countries have imposed or are planning restrictions on travel from southern Africa. The South African government denounced this on Saturday as unfair and potentially harmful to its economy – saying it is being punished for its scientific ability to identify coronavirus variants early.

In Britain, where two linked cases of Omicron identified on Saturday were connected to travel to southern Africa, the government announced measures to try to contain the spread, including stricter testing rules for people arriving in the country and requiring mask wearing in some settings.

The German state of Bavaria also announced two confirmed cases of the variant on Saturday. In Italy, the National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.

Although epidemiologists say travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating, many countries – including the United States, Brazil, Canada, European Union nation

Hanafi says that during 20 years of occupation there are 5 million addicts, among them 1 million are women and children.

Hanafi says that if TAPI project is implemented, Afghanistan will earn annually around $1 billion dollars through its transit rights.

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Czech Republic reports 20,315 daily coronavirus cases

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Czech Republic reported 20,315 new coronavirus cases for Friday, the first week-on-week drop in the daily tally in two months, although its hospitals were still filling and the government toughened restrictions.

On the same day last week, the country of 10.7 million people reported 22,957 new cases of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Although hospitalisations dropped to 6,169 on Friday compared to the previous day, the number of people treated in hospitals has doubled over the past three weeks and some stopped non-urgent procedures.

The Czech government ordered bars and clubs to close at 10 p.m. as of Friday and banned Christmas markets in an attempt to stem one of the world’s highest infection rates.

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