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COVID-19

Global coronavirus cases surpass 100 million

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2021)

As countries around the world struggle with new virus variants and vaccine shortfalls, the global COVID-19 caseload surpassed the 100 million mark on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally.

Almost 1.3 percent of the world’s population has now been infected with COVID-19, and more than 2.1 million people have died.

One person has been infected every 7.7 seconds, on average, since the start of the year. Around 668,250 cases have been reported each day over the same period, and the global fatality rate stands at 2.15 percent, Reuters reported.

The worst-affected countries – the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom – make up more than half all reported COVID-19 cases but represent 28 percent of the global population, according to a Reuters analysis.

It took the world 11 months to record the first 50 million cases of the pandemic, compared to just three months for cases to double to 100 million.

Around 56 countries have begun vaccinating people for the coronavirus, administering at least 64 million doses. Israel leads the world on per capita vaccinations, inoculating 29 percent of its population with at least one dose.

With over 25 million cases, the United States has the highest death toll and has reported just under 425,00 deaths, almost twice as many deaths as Brazil, which has the second-highest death toll in the world.

In India, the nation with the second-highest number of cases, infections are decreasing, with almost 13,700 new infections reported on average each day. The world’s second-most populous country inoculated more than one million people within a week of starting its vaccination campaign.

COVID-19

WHO warns vaccines alone won’t curb spread of Coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: March 2, 2021)

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday said governments and individuals cannot rely solely on vaccines to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

The organization said vaccines alone will not keep them ‘safe’ and that basic public health measures remain the basis of the response.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said at a media briefing that: “Vaccines will help to save lives, but if countries rely solely on vaccines, they’re making a mistake. Basic public health measures remain the foundation of the response.”

For public health authorities, that means testing, contact tracing, isolation, supported quarantine and quality care, while for individuals, it means avoiding crowds, physical distancing, hand hygiene, masks and ventilation.

”This is a global crisis that requires a consistent and coordinated global response,” he added.

In the past week, Ghebreyesus noted, the number of reported cases of Covid-19 increased for the first time in seven weeks.

”Reported cases increased in four of WHO’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean – so we don’t report increases in Africa and the Western Pacific.

”We’re working to better understand these increases in transmission. Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting down their guard,” he added.

Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire started vaccinating health workers against Covid-19, becoming the first countries to start vaccination campaigns with doses supplied through COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

”A further 11 million doses will be delivered this week. Between now and the end of May, 237 million doses of vaccines will be allocated to 142 participating economies and countries in COVAX,” he said.

UAE’s Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Cargo have signed separate agreements with UNICEF to prioritise the transport of Covid-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to help fight the pandemic, gulfbusiness reported.

According to the report the UNICEF drive convenes a number of partners capable of distributing essential supplies to more than 100 markets in support of the COVAX Facility, the global effort aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

In January 2021, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with three other Dubai-based entities- DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form an alliance for the rapid transport of Covid-19 vaccines to the developing world through the emirate, report added.

The UAE has administered a total of 6,028,417 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine till March 1.

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COVID-19

China to donate 400,000 vaccines to Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: February 28, 2021)

China has pledged to donate 400,000 doses of the Coronavirus vaccine to Afghanistan, officials confirmed.

Acting Public Health Minister Wahid Majrooh met with the Chinese Ambassador to Kabul Wang Yu on Sunday.

“Chinese vaccines to numerous countries fulfill the Chinese commitment from President Xi Jinping about making the vaccine a global public good,” Wang Yu said.

Wang Yu stated that the Chinese vaccine has been approved for emergency use by more than 30 countries.

“These countries trust in the Chinese vaccine as its development is in strict compliance with international standards and relevant laws and regulations,” Wang Yu tweeted.

This comes after India donated 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan earlier this month.

The Public Health Ministry said at the time that 250,000 people – mostly health workers and Afghan security forces and media workers – would be inoculated in the first stage.

The government officially launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign last week.

The Public Health Ministry (MoPH) said that 8,206 health workers have received doses of the Indian vaccine so far.

Health officials stated, so far, no recipient has shown any signs of an allergic reaction to the vaccine.

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COVID-19

Afghanistan marks one year of Coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

One year ago today, February 24, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Herat, after which the virus gradually spread to all provinces of Afghanistan.

Over the course of the year, nearly 2,500 people have died from the disease in Afghanistan, and over 55,000 positive cases have been recorded.

Coinciding with the one-year infection anniversary, Afghanistan’s vaccine program was officially launched in Herat, with health workers receiving the first shots.

In the past year, 9,222 people were infected with the virus in Herat, of which 431 died. Of these, 296 are men and 135 are women. Officials at the Herat Public Health Department said to date seven doctors in Herat alone have died from the virus.

Herat meanwhile was not only the first hotspot in the country – but it has also suffered a serious second wave, which led to a total lockdown of the city.

As a result, government has, in just three weeks, completed a 100-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients.

New cases have meanwhile started to subside.

On Tuesday, the first vaccines – the Covishield vaccine supplied by India – were administered in Kabul at a ceremony attended by President Ashraf Ghani. The first recipients were health workers, security force members and journalists.

India donated 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

The Public Health Ministry said that 250,000 people – mostly health workers and Afghan security forces and media workers – would be inoculated in the first stage.

The vaccine is now being administered in three provinces – Kabul, Herat and Baghlan.

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