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Government announces curfew in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: March 27, 2020)

The government announced to impose a three-week-long curfew in the capital Kabul on Friday, effective from Saturday aimed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

To prevent the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, all administrations, schools, universities, educational centers, public baths, parks, swimming pools, wedding halls, markets, and other public sites, except for the Ministry of Health and security apparatus, will remain closed for at least three weeks.

In addition, the government banned wedding parties, mourning ceremonies and public transports.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani said, based on needs, all schools and Darulaman Palace could be used as emergency health centers for isolation of the infected.

According to the plan, entities providing health services, security services, grocery stores, restaurants providing delivery services and parts of the Kabul municipality can continue their activities.

“The Ministry of Public Health had suggested the emergency committee to impose restrictions on movements. This has been approved by the government and would be effective from tomorrow,” Feruzuddin Feruz, the Public Health Minister said in a briefing conference.

The Acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi said Kabul police would implement the plan, warning people to abide by the curfew rules during the period.

Following the western Herat, Nimroz and Farah provinces, Kabul is the fourth province put into partial quarantine.

It comes as the total number of positive cases in Afghanistan has hiked to 91 with four confirmed deaths.

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China reports first ever human case of H10N3 bird flu

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2021)

A 41-year-old man in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu has been confirmed as the first human case of infection with the H10N3 strain of bird flu, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Tuesday.

Reuters reported the man, a resident of the city of Zhenjiang, was hospitalised on April 28 after developing a fever and other symptoms, the NHC said in a statement.

He was diagnosed as having the H10N3 avian influenza virus on May 28, it said, but did not give details on how the man had been infected with the virus.

The man was stable and ready to be discharged from hospital. Medical observation of his close contacts had not found any other cases, Reuters reported.

H10N3 is a low pathogenic, or relatively less severe, strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale was very low, the NHC added.

The strain is “not a very common virus,” said Filip Claes, regional laboratory coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases at the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Reuters reported.

Only around 160 incidents of the virus were reported in the 40 years to 2018, mostly in wild birds or waterfowl in Asia and some limited parts of North America, and none had been detected in chickens so far, he added.

No other cases of human infection with H10N3 have previously been reported globally, the NHC said.

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Playing PUBG war game harms mental health: Psychologists

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2021)

The Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), a popular multiplayer online gaming, could harm the mental well-being of the players, Psychologists said.

According to Psychologists, a continuous play of the game could lead to game addiction, health issues like neck pain, and weakening of eyesight, and behavioral issues such as aggressive thoughts among teenagers.

PUBG, developed by Chinese technology giant Tencent, has around one million active users in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) in December 2020, decided to ban the PUBG in the country, but the game is still accessible.

Saeed Shinwari, a spokesman for ATRA, told Ariana News: “based on demands of families, we have decided to ban the game, and we have also informed the telecommunication companies to limited access [to the game] on websites.”

Some Psychologists believe that excessive excitement in this anxious game has caused mental disorders in dozens of PUBG players. 

Omulbanin Sadaat, a Psychologist stated: “This game is dangerous at all and causes mental disorders and brain fissures.”

Psychiatrists, however, rejected the claims, stating that playing games could have positive impacts but gaming hours must be limited and players must also engage in other activities such as sports and studying.

“These games have their benefits like technology. The timing of playing games must be managed in order to prevent its side effects,” Bashir Ahmad Sarwar, head of the mental health department of the Ministry of Public Health said.

PUBG got famous during the pandemic lockdown and it was one of the most gamed played in the period and helped players to cope with seclusion. 

Currently, the game reportedly has around 300,000 active users across the world.

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Cancer takes its toll on Afghans amid diagnostic, treatment challenges

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2021)

The Afghanistan Cancer Foundation (ACF) said on Thursday that 15,000 people in Afghanistan die of cancer in the country every year.

The ACF said that a shortage of diagnostic centers, low capacity and food, drugs and insecurity all contribute to the increase in numbers.

“Twenty thousand get cancer annually and 15,000 out of the 20,000 of them die from the disease. Shortage of health centers increased the disease,” said Nasrin Oryakhil, head of the ACF.

According to the ACF a lack of human resources to treat cancer patients forces thousands of people to seek treatment every year outside the country.

Rula Ghani, the first lady of Afghanistan, meanwhile, voiced concerns about this and said that awareness programs must be held.
“The government can’t fight the disease alone, world countries should help the Afghan government,” she said.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Public Health, said the closed borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cancer patients seeking treatment in the country.
The ministry stated that lack of coordination between diagnostic centers and the ministry is another challenge.

“Challenges exist in the country regarding diagnosing the disease, and the lack of human resources is the other problem that we face,” said Wahid Majrooh, acting minister of public health.

The Ministry of Public Health said that a large diagnostic center will be established in Kabul with the help of Saudi Arabia.

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