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COVID-19

Coronavirus updates: Afghanistan records 42 deaths in a single day

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health confirmed Thursday that positive cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan have risen to 27,532.

According to the ministry, 658 new cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.

The cases were recorded as follow: Kabul 415, Kandahar 27, Balkh 6, Takhar 40, Bamyan 62, Logar 21, Baghlan 17, Ghazni 2, Parwan 7, Kunduz 22, Panjsher 14, Faryab 4, Ghor 5, Zabul 6, 10 Daikundi.

Meanwhile, 42 people – Kabul 17, Herat 19, Faryab 3, Samangan 2, and Balkh 1 – have died of Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry added.

It brings the total fatalities to 546 in the country.

The ministry further said that 1502 people were recovered and fully discharged from hospitals in the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 7,660 in Afghanistan.

COVID-19

US registers more than 49.2 million COVID-19 cases, death toll of over 789,000

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(Last Updated On: December 7, 2021)

The cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeded 49.2 million as of Monday, with the death toll surpassing 789,000, according to data released by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Specifically, the country’s case count had risen to 49,277,447 as of 19:22 Eastern Standard Time (EST) Monday, with the death toll reaching 789,708, according to the CSSE tally.

So far, about one-third of the U.S. states have reported confirmed cases of Omicron variant infection. According to a New York Times report on Sunday, the U.S. detected a confirmed case of Omicron on Nov 23, earlier than the variant received a name from the World Health Organization (WHO), and even before South Africa reported the variant to the WHO.

The report said that Peter McGinn, a 30-year-old health care analyst from Minnesota is the case detected on Nov 23. He flew to New York City on Nov 18 for an anime convention and came back to Minnesota on Nov 22. He tested positive for COVID-19 the following day.

It wasn’t until Dec 1 that the Minnesota health authorities confirmed that McGinn was infected with the Omicron variant. His infection, announced by the authorities on Dec 2, is the “first known instance of Omicron spreading within the United States.”

About 53,000 people attended the anime convention in the three days from Nov 19 to 21. The report mentioned that about half of the roughly 30 people McGinn recalled socializing with at the anime convention have tested positive for the coronavirus, but it is still not clear whether they are infected with the Omicron variant.

In addition, Connecticut reported on Saturday its first confirmed case infected with Omicron, who developed symptoms of infection after contact with family members attending the anime convention in New York City.

With tens of thousands of new confirmed cases being reported every day in the U.S., the spread of Omicron can easily be hidden, the report noted.

A virologist at the University of Minnesota warned that the currently reported confirmed cases of Omicron are just the tip of the iceberg, and more cases infected with the variant will be soon reported across the country.

In addition to the risk posed by Omicron, COVID-19 infection among children in the U.S. is “extremely high”.

According to the latest report by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday, more than 133,000 child cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in the week ending Dec 2, accounting for more than 22 percent of weekly reported COVID-19 cases.

Since the beginning of September, nearly two million of child cases were reported in the U.S., which means that for 17 consecutive weeks, child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000.

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COVID-19

COVID-19: Afghan officials warn of possible fourth wave

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

Officials at the Afghan-Japan hospital in Kabul on Monday warned that another surge in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan was expected after 620 new cases were reported in the past three weeks.

They said that 350 people out of the 620 have been hospitalized.

According to doctors, 10 people have died of the virus in this time.

“The problem is the lack of salaries and lack of equipment. If the virus comes from neighboring countries, we will face a major crisis,” said Tariq Ahmad Akbari, head of the Afghan-Japan hospital.
Sources have also said laboratory screening is being done privately due to the lack of supplies in hospitals.

“We do some of the [laboratory] tests outside that cost 1,600 [AFG]. We are happy with the staff at the Afghan-Japan hospital. Treatment is good here,” said Tajudin, a relative of one of the patients.

The Ministry of Public Health meanwhile said that they do not have the capacity to tackle a fourth wave of COVID-19.

“After the Islamic Emirate takeover, there have been problems. The World Bank supported the hospital financially. Because of this we don’t have the budget for Coronavirus and health staff and patients are facing problems,” said Dr Abdul Bari Omar, deputy minister of public health.

Some concerned citizens have however voiced concern about people not wearing masks in public and breaking social distancing rules.

Public awareness campaigns have also stopped.

This comes after a new variant of COVID-19 was detected in South Africa last month.

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COVID-19

WHO urges Asia-Pacific to ready for Omicron-driven surge in infections

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2021)

Asia-Pacific countries should boost their healthcare capacity and fully vaccinate their people to prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant, Reuters quoting officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

First detected in southern Africa last month and dubbed a “variant of concern” by the WHO, scientists are still gathering data to establish how contagious Omicron is, and the severity of the illness it causes.

It has been reported in at least two dozen countries, and started gaining a foothold in Asia this week, with cases reported from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and India. Many governments have responded by tightening travel rules, read the report.

“Border controls can buy time but every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases,” Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the western Pacific, told a virtual media briefing.

“People should not only rely on border measures. What is most important is to prepare for these variants with potential high transmissibility. So far the information available suggests we don’t have to change our approach,” Kasai said.

Kasai said countries must utilise lessons learned from dealing with the Delta variant and urged them to fully vaccinate vulnerable groups and implement preventive measures such as mask wearing and social distancing rules.

According to Reuters despite restrictions on international visitors, Australia became the latest country on Friday to report community transmission of Omicron, a day after it was found locally in five U.S. states.

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