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COVID-19

Sharp spike in infections sees COVID-19 tally hit 50 million mark

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(Last Updated On: November 9, 2020)

As a second wave sweeps across Europe, the global tally of COVID-19 infections topped the 50 million mark on Sunday. 

According to a Reuters tally, the second wave of the virus in the past 30 days has accounted for a quarter of the total. 

The United States has been particularly hard hit with over 100,000 new cases reported each day. A surge in infections in Europe also contributed to the spike in overall numbers. 

Reuters reported that the latest seven-day average shows global daily infections are rising by more than 540,000.

More than 1.25 million people have died from the disease.

However, as Reuters states, the pandemic’s recent acceleration has been ferocious. It took 32 days for the number of cases to rise from 30 million to 40 million. It took just 21 days to add another 10 million.

The global second wave is testing healthcare systems across Europe, prompting Germany, France and Britain to order many citizens back to their homes again.

Denmark, which imposed a new lockdown on its population in several northern areas, ordered the culling of its 17 million minks after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans.

The latest US surge coincided with the last month of election campaigning in which President Donald Trump minimized the severity of the pandemic and his successful challenger, Joe Biden, urged a more science-based approach.

Trump’s rallies, some open-air and with few masks and little social distancing, led to 30,000 additional confirmed cases and likely led to more than 700 deaths, Stanford University economists estimated in a research paper.

Reuters reported that in Asia, India has the world’s second-highest caseload but has seen a steady slowdown since September. Total cases exceeded 8.5 million cases on Friday. 

COVID-19

Afghanistan unable to detect omicron variant: health ministry

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

Public Health Ministry officials said Monday that Afghanistan’s health sector does not have the medical equipment needed to detect the newly mutated version of the coronavirus and as such, they have no idea how many people are infected with the omicron variant.

While the case number in Afghanistan is lower compared to neighboring countries, the ministry of health says the latest data put the number of cases at 40. However, it’s not known how many have the omicron variant.

“We have problems to identify the new variant of COVID-19. We call on the international community to help us. They vowed that they will continues their help,” said Javid Hazher, spokesman for the ministry of public health.

Meanwhile, staff at the Afghan-Japan Hospital, the main COVID-19 treatment center in Kabul, said that between 15 and 20 patients seek treatment at the hospital daily, however they are not able to detect the variant.

“So far, the mutated type of COVID-19 has not been identified because we have not received the diagnostic device and we have asked the Ministry of Health to make the device available as soon as possible,” said Mohammad Anil, HR director of the hospital.

Members of the public meanwhile have called on the ministry to take special measures to help curb the spread of the virus – which is currently in its 4th wave in the country.

“It has been 15 days that my mother is sick and we are satisfied with the hospital but we ask people to not go outside without wearing masks and washing their hands,” said Mohammad Juma, one Kabul resident.

“People should wear masks, and this is Islamic law, when we pray and wash our hands, we do not get sick,” said Mohammad Arif, another resident.

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COVID-19

Beijing orders travellers to take COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in city – state media

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(Last Updated On: January 16, 2022)

Chinese travellers into Beijing from Jan. 22 to end-March are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival in the city, Beijing Daily, a government newspaper reported on Sunday.=

China has reported local cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in at least five provinces and municipalities, including a first infection in Beijing itself on Saturday, just weeks ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in February, Reuters reported.

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COVID-19

Omicron less severe than Delta but still poses danger for unvaccinated: WHO

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(Last Updated On: January 13, 2022)

The highly infectious Omicron coronavirus variant causes less severe disease than the Delta strain but it remains a “dangerous virus”, particularly for those who are unvaccinated, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a news briefing, director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said more than 90 countries were yet to meet the target of vaccinating 40% of their populations and more than 85% of people in Africa were yet to receive a single dose, Reuters reported.

“We mustn’t allow this virus a free ride or wave the white flag, especially when so many people around the globe remain unvaccinated,” he said.

In its weekly epidemiological report on Tuesday, the WHO said cases increased by 55%, or 15 million, in the week to Jan. 9 from a week earlier – by far the most cases reported in a single week, read the report.

“This huge spike in infections is being driven by the Omicron variant, which is rapidly replacing Delta in almost all countries,” Tedros said.

He said the majority of people hospitalized around the world with COVID-19 were unvaccinated and that if transmission was not curtailed there was greater risk of another variant emerging that could be even more transmissible, and more deadly, than Omicron.

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