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COVID-19

More than 8 million Afghan children in need of life-saving support

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(Last Updated On: June 13, 2020)

Save the Children says the outbreak of the Coronavirus has increased the number of children in need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

Save the Children – an international organization for children protection – says that the number of Afghan children in need of help to survive before the outbreak of the Coronavirus was 5 million, while it has risen by about 3 million since the beginning of 2020.

Maryam Ataei, a spokeswoman for Save the Children, said that with the prevalence of Covid-19 in Afghanistan four out of every ten children need humanitarian assistance.

She added that more than 5 million children were already in need of assistance in 2020, however with the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the figure reached 8.12 million children.

Therefore, Save the Children calls for serious attention from the Afghan government and the international community.

However, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs denies the statistics noting that there are nearly 6 million vulnerable children in Afghanistan, and the ministry has taken special measures to pick children from the streets for the Coronavirus period.

Ghulam Haidar Jailani, deputy head of social affairs at the ministry, said, “We have decided to collect all children from streets and accommodate them in the kindergartens that have been on lockdown, and if possible, we will help them reunite with their families.”

The Coronavirus has posed a special threat to Afghan labor children who have been wandering the streets looking for food day-to-day.

The figures provided by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and the United Nations in Afghanistan are as follows:

  • There are more than 6 million vulnerable children in Afghanistan, of which 3.7 million are deprived of school.
  • There are more than 2 million labor children, 1.2 million of whom are busy doing hard jobs.
  • More than 100,000 children are disabled and over 100,000 others are orphans and homeless.

On the other hand, early this year, the General Director of Social Affairs of Tehran Municipality announced the preparation of a list of Afghan labor children who are to be returned to Afghanistan; the reason given is that these children can further spread the Coronavirus in Tehran.

COVID-19

Afghanistan COVID-19 updates: 75 new cases, total 37,506

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health Friday reported that 75 new Coronavirus cases were positive out of 408 samples tested in the last 24 hours. 

The cases were registered in Kabul (4), Herat (36), Balkh (3), Paktya (1), Bamyan (4), Nangarhar (2), Badghis (5), Logar (2), Ghazni (12), Daikundi (5), and Kunar (1) provinces.

According to the Ministry, so far, 98,199 samples have been tested in COVID-19 testing centers, of which 37,506 cases were diagnosed positive.

The Ministry in its daily updates announced that currently there are 9,347 active COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan.

In the last 24 hours, the ministry also recorded 6 new deaths, five in Herat and one in Logar, from the virus, bringing the total fatalities to 1,369 in the country.

The ministry stated that 452 COVID-19 patients were discharged from the hospitals after treatment, adding that, 27,166 had recovered so far.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Public Health released details of an official survey conducted with the help of the World Health Organization that found the coronavirus has likely infected a third of the country’s population – roughly 10 million people.

The Afghan health ministry released the estimates Wednesday, saying they are based on antibody tests on about 9,500 people in 34 provinces. 

Acting Health Minister, Ahmad Jawad Osmani told a news conference in Kabul the survey showed 31.5 percent of Afghanistan’s population has been infected by COVID-19.

Osmani noted that 53 percent of Kabul’s nearly five million residents had contracted the coronavirus.

There are 20,960,424 cases tested positive worldwide, with 760,371 deaths and 13,028,829 recoveries.

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COVID-19

Russia reports more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

Russia reported 5,065 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing its nationwide tally to 912,823, the fourth highest caseload in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus crisis response center said 114 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 15,498.

This comes as the Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, August 11th, that his country has succeeded to develop a vaccine that “forms stable cell and antibody immunity” against the COVID-19.

Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said: “As far as I know, this morning for the first time in the world a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered.”

The vaccine still has to complete final trials but Russia’s move could pave the way for mass vaccination.

Reuters reported that the vaccine’s approval by the health ministry comes before the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.

Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.

The worldwide cases of Coronavirus reached 20,924,603 with the U.S. topping the list by 5,254,171 cases followed by Brazil with 3,224,876 and India with 2,461,190.

Out of 20,924,603 cases around the world, 759,716 of them died so far while 12,999,228 others have recovered.

 

(With inputs from Reuters)

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COVID-19

Russia registered world’s first COVID-19 vaccine: Putin

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(Last Updated On: August 11, 2020)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that his country has succeeded to develop a vaccine that “forms stable cell and antibody immunity” against the COVID-19.

Speaking at a government meeting, Putin said: “As far as I know, this morning for the first time in the world a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered.” 

The Russian Tass news agency reported that the vaccine was developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya institute and its clinical trials were over.

The vaccine was approved by the country’s Health Ministry after less than two months of human testing.

“I know this very well, because one of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in testing,” Putin said. He noted that after the first vaccine shot, his daughter had a 38°C fever, and on the next day, a fever slightly higher than 37°C. And then, after the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine, she is feeling well and has a high [antibody] count,” Putin said quoted by the Tass.

The vaccine still has to complete final trials but Russia’s move could pave the way for mass vaccination.

Reuters reported that the vaccine’s approval by the health ministry comes before the start of a larger trial involving thousands of participants, commonly known as a Phase III trial.

Such trials, which require a certain rate of participants catching the virus to observe the vaccine’s effect, are normally considered essential precursors for a vaccine to receive regulatory approval.

The Moscow-based Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO), a trade body representing the world’s top drugmakers in Russia this week urged the health ministry to postpone approval until that final trial had been successfully completed.

In a letter to the ministry, it said there were high risks associated with registering a drug before that happened.

“It is during this phase that the main evidence of a vaccine’s efficacy is collected, as well as information on adverse reactions that could appear in certain groups of patients: people with weakened immunity, people with concomitant diseases and so forth,” it said.

Some international experts have also questioned the speed at which Russia approved its vaccine.

“Normally you need a large number of people to be tested before you approve a vaccine,” said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, currently testing CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials.

“In that respect, I think it’s reckless to do that (approve it) if lots of people haven’t already been tested.”

Duncan Matthews, a professor of intellectual property law at the Queen Mary University of London, said news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine was to be welcomed, “but safety must be the priority”.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have fast-track approval procedures for emergency humanitarian use and we need to see evidence that Russia is adopting an equally prudent approach,” Matthews said in an emailed comment.

More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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