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COVID-19

Oxygen producing plant inaugurated at Kabul Hospital

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(Last Updated On: November 30, 2020)

An oxygen-producing plant was inaugurated on Sunday at Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in the capital Kabul city.

A number of high-ranking government officials including Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Acting Minister of Public Health, and several MPs and Monsoor Ahmad Khan Ambassador of Pakistan to Kabul had attended the inauguration ceremony of the plant.  

The plant with a capacity of producing 50 balloons of oxygen per hour would meet patients’ needs at the hospital. 

The 300-bed Jinnah Hospital, which was one of the capital’s Covid-19 isolation centers, is constructed by the government of Pakistan in Dasht-e-Barchi of the city at a cost of $24 million.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Monsoor Ahmad Khan stated that Pakistan is committed to assisting Afghanistan in development projects.

“We are trying to establish a cancer treatment center at the Ali Jinnah Hospital. Pakistan is ready to assist Afghanistan in various areas, even peace,” the Pakistani Ambassador said. 

At the inauguration ceremony, Public Health Acting Minister Jawad Osmani warned of the second wave of Covid-19 in the country.

He stated that around 1240 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the past week. According to him, the infections have increased by 10 percent and the fatalities have increased by 3 percent.

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.

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COVID-19

WHO pledges $112 million for COVID vaccines

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

The World Health Organization’s COVAX programme has pledged $112 million for COVID-19 vaccines to reach 20 percent of Afghanistan’s population, an Afghan health official said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists, the deputy health minister, Waheed Majroh, said it would take about six months to get the vaccines.

The COVAX programme is a global scheme to vaccinate people in poor and middle income countries against the coronavirus and aims to deliver at least two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20 percent of the most vulnerable people in 91 poor and middle-income countries.

Reuters reported that aside from COVAX, the country has also received a pledge of 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India.

Dr Ghulam Dastagir Nazari, head of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation at Afghanistan’s health ministry told Reuters that the “AstraZeneca brand which is manufactured in India will arrive soon in Afghanistan.”

Nazari said government was only concerned about the WHO approval of the vaccine and that the pre-qualification process has already started.

Afghanistan has registered a total of 54,854 infections and 2,390 deaths – but experts say the actual numbers are much higher and are underreported due to low testing and limited access to medical facilities in the war torn country.

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COVID-19

EU provides another 35 million euros in fight against COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: January 26, 2021)

The EU-Delegation in Kabul announced additional support in the form of 35 million euros to tackle the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its socioeconomic impacts in Afghanistan.

The EU said in a statement on Tuesday that since the start of the pandemic it has mobilised almost 147 million euros to address the immediate health crisis and provide humanitarian assistance to the people in need.

“The pandemic has exacerbated an already grim situation in Afghanistan, creating even
bigger needs in a country for decades plagued by war.

“Together with partners and in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, the EU’s contribution aims to support those who suffer the most from this crisis. The three projects launched today will contribute to this further,” said EU Ambassador Andreas Von Brandt.

The 35 million euros announced today will contribute to strengthening the response capacity of health systems, to test and treat patients, to improve infection prevention, to raise awareness and to reduce nutritional risks through three projects implemented by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and a consortium led by the Aga Khan Foundation.

“ As preparation for vaccine rollout signals new hope in Afghanistan’s fight against COVID19, continued investment in testing, surveillance, clinical care, protection of health workers and essential health services remains vital for containing the spread of the virus in addition to offering quality medical care,” said David Lai, Officer in Charge at the WHO.

The EU stated that import restrictions and widespread unemployment have worsened food insecurity, and through the support of the EU and its partners 300 000 children and their mothers will also receive community nutrition services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional strain on the already weak health system and worsened underlying health and gender vulnerabilities. This generous EU funding will allow UNICEF to respond quickly to this secondary wave of challenges which profoundly affects the health and safety of children and women,” said Sheema Sen Gupta, Representative of UNICEF Afghanistan.

The projects implemented by UNICEF and the Aga Khan led consortium includes actions to mitigate women’s, children’s and teenager’s vulnerability to various forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence.

“With the support of the EU, the Aga Khan Foundation led consortium with Cordaid will
reach 8.4 million direct and indirect beneficiaries in 16 provinces,” said Sheherazade Hirji, Aga Khan Development Network Diplomatic Representative.

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