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UN calls for global action against spread of COVID-19 misinformation

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

The United Nations and its partners have called on countries to take urgent action to address what they describe as the “infodemic” around the COVID-19 pandemic and put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information.

In a statement issued by the UN on Thursday, the organization said the pandemic is the first in history in which technology and social media are being used to both inform people and keep them connected but also to undermine global response to the crisis and jeopardize measures to contain the disease.

“WHO and partners are calling on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

They also called on the media, tech companies, civil society, researchers and people everywhere to keep the infodemic from spreading”.

“Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive”, the partners said in a statement. 

“We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” 

Authorities also were urged to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against the infodemic. 

Stakeholders such as the media and social media platforms were called on to collaborate with the UN system, and each other, “to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.” 

 

COVID-19

Afghanistan records 93 deaths from COVID-19 in Last 24 hours

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(Last Updated On: June 20, 2021)

Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said Sunday that 93 people have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across the country.

The ministry said that 1,927 new positive cases of COVID-19 were recorded, while 526 others recovered in the same period.

So far, 103,921 people have been infected with the virus out of which 4,215 died of the virus.

This comes as hospitals in Kabul face a shortage of oxygen supplies as the country is dealing with the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kabul citizens said that the price of one oxygen cylinder has increased to up to 30,000 AFN ($386) from 500 AFN ($6.4) as demand for the oxygen mounts.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Wahid Majrooh, Acting MoPH Minister, however, stated that the ministry has addressed the issue at the public hospitals.

 “In all COVID-19 hospitals Oxygen production plants are activated, and provide the necessary oxygen for the hospitals,” added Majrooh.

The acting minister added vaccination campaign is underway and that 450, 000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would arrive in Kabul in July.

He also called on people to adhere to precaution measures in order to contain the spread of the virus.

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COVID-19

92 people die of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours

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(Last Updated On: June 19, 2021)

Afghan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on Saturday that 92 people have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across the country.

The ministry said that 1,384 new cases of COVID-19 out of 4,389 tested were reported in the mentioned time.

According to the ministry, 497 others recovered from COVID-19 in this time.

The health ministry said that with the new cases, the total now stands at 101,906 and the death toll is 4,122.

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COVID-19

U.S. requires embassy staff in Afghanistan to telework amid COVID-19 outbreak

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(Last Updated On: June 18, 2021)

Staff in the U.S. embassy in Kabul are being required to telework, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday, citing a “significant outbreak of COVID-19” that has sickened officials and killed one local embassy staffer.

The embassy was taking steps to ensure safety of staff by “requiring all staff to telework and to adhere to physical distancing, masking requirements and other applicable regulations,” Price said.

Price declined to say how many embassy staff had been infected, but said 95% of the cases at the embassy were individuals who were not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated against the virus.

“We are saddened by the deaths of many valiant Afghans who’ve been sickened by this pandemic and we in fact grieve the passing of a local embassy staff member,” Price said, adding normal embassy operations would resume when “the chain of transmission has been broken.”

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