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COVID-19

Coronavirus: Afghanistan records highest daily increase in cases

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(Last Updated On: May 23, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health said that out of 1,582 suspicious samples, 782 have been positive, bringing the total number of positive cases in Afghanistan to 9,998.

The number of Coronavirus cases in Afghanistan is rising day by day, as of Friday, May 22nd recorded the highest number of Coronavirus cases in a single day in Afghanistan.

The registered cases are as follows: 377 cases in Kabul, 150 in Herat, 49 in Balkh, 47 in Ghazni, 32 in Nangarhar, 28 in Paktia, 21 in Samangan, 12 in Baghlan, 12 in Logar, 12 in Paktika, 11 in Kapisa, 10 in Kunar, 6 In Laghman, 4 in Ghor, 4 in Farah, 4 in Badghis, and 3 in Takhar.

This comes as the death toll of Coronavirus in Afghanistan reached 216.

The Ministry of Public Health expressed its concerns about the situation and emphasized that the only way to prevent more people from being infected and changing the situation is to return to quarantine.

The Health Ministry prepared a new quarantine plan, which will be presented to the presidential palace soon.

COVID-19

Survey finds at least 10 million Afghans infected with COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: August 5, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health said Wednesday that 10 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the country.

Addressing a press conference, acting Health Minister Jawad Osmani said according to a survey conducted across the country, 31.5 percent of Afghans – which is about 10 million people – have contracted the Coronavirus.

He said the survey had been based on antibody tests on people across the country, with technical support from the World Health Organisation.

Osmani said that 11,500 people from 34 provinces participated in the survey.

The highest infection rate was in Kabul where more than half of the city’s five million population was thought to have been infected.

Osmani said 37 percent of the population in cities and 27 percent of the population in villages have been infected with the virus.

“The studies divided 34 provinces of the country into nine zones, of which Kabul as a zone – 53 percent of its total population is affected by the Coronavirus.

He said 42.9 percent of the total population in eastern provinces had been infected along with 36.3 percent of the population in central provinces, 34.1 percent in the north and 32.4 percent of the total population in northeastern provinces.

He also said the survey found that 25.3 percent of children had contracted the virus. That was 24.2 percent of all boys in the country and 26.8 percent of all girls.

With the adult population, 35.2 percent had contracted the virus. This meant 33.9 percent of all men in the country had contracted COVID-19 and 37.2 percent of all women had been infected.

But the country of around 32 million people has only limited testing capacity and has an official recorded number of cases of just under 37,000.

Earlier Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Health announced its daily updates and said 36,782 people had so far tested positive for COVID-19.

The ministry stated that so far 1,288 people had died of the virus while 25,556 had recovered.

The ministry meanwhile warned people of a second wave of the pandemic, asking the public to fully adhere to precautionary measures to prevent the continued spread of the virus.

“A second wave of the infection is happening everywhere in the world and we cannot be an exception. We will use the findings of this survey to better prepare ourselves for a possible second wave,” Osmani said.

More than 18 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus since it first emerged in China late last year.

The virus entered Afghanistan in February as thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, which at the time was the region’s worst-hit nation for the virus.

Since then Afghanistan has been ravaged by COVID-19.

A survey on the mortality rate of coronavirus in Afghanistan is now under way.

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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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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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