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COVID-19

Up to 180,000 health workers may have died from COVID-19

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(Last Updated On: October 22, 2021)

Between 80,000 and 180,000 health and care workers may have died from COVID-19 between January of 2020 and May of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

This estimate features in a new WHO working paper based on the 3.45 million coronavirus-related deaths reported globally to the UN health agency up to May; a figure that WHO said may well be at least 60 percent lower than the actual number of victims.

To highlight the need for better protection, WHO was joined by global partners working to end the pandemic, to issue an urgent call for concrete action on behalf of workers in the sector.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reiterated that “the backbone of every health system is its workforce.”

“COVID-19 is a powerful demonstration of just how much we rely on these men and women, and how vulnerable we all are when the people who protect our health are themselves unprotected”, he added.

WHO and partners said that apart from huge concern over deaths, an increasing proportion of the workforce continue to suffer from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.

They are calling on leaders and policy makers to ensure equitable access to vaccines so that health and care workers are prioritized.

COVID-19

New coronavirus variant Omicron keeps spreading, Australia detects cases

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(Last Updated On: November 28, 2021)

The new Omicron coronavirus variant kept spreading around the world on Sunday, with two cases detected in Australia, even as more countries tried to seal themselves off by imposing travel restrictions.

Health officials in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, said two passengers who arrived in Sydney from southern Africa on Saturday evening had tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Both people were asymptomatic, fully vaccinated and in quarantine, NSW Health said. Another 12 passengers from southern Africa were also in 14 days of hotel quarantine, while around 260 other passengers and aircrew have been directed to isolate.

The Australian cases were the latest indication that the variant may prove hard to contain. First discovered in South Africa, it has since been detected in Britain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong. Austria was investigating a suspected case on Sunday.

The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the World Health Organization, has sparked worries around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year COVID-19 pandemic.

Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

Many countries have imposed a wave of travel bans.

In the most far-reaching effort to keep the variant at bay, Israel announced late on Saturday it would ban the entry of all foreigners and reintroduce counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology to contain the spread of the variant.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective vaccines are against Omicron.

Many countries have imposed or are planning restrictions on travel from southern Africa. The South African government denounced this on Saturday as unfair and potentially harmful to its economy – saying it is being punished for its scientific ability to identify coronavirus variants early.

In Britain, where two linked cases of Omicron identified on Saturday were connected to travel to southern Africa, the government announced measures to try to contain the spread, including stricter testing rules for people arriving in the country and requiring mask wearing in some settings.

The German state of Bavaria also announced two confirmed cases of the variant on Saturday. In Italy, the National Health Institute said a case of the new variant had been detected in Milan in a person coming from Mozambique.

Although epidemiologists say travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating, many countries – including the United States, Brazil, Canada, European Union nation

Hanafi says that during 20 years of occupation there are 5 million addicts, among them 1 million are women and children.

Hanafi says that if TAPI project is implemented, Afghanistan will earn annually around $1 billion dollars through its transit rights.

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COVID-19

Czech Republic reports 20,315 daily coronavirus cases

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Czech Republic reported 20,315 new coronavirus cases for Friday, the first week-on-week drop in the daily tally in two months, although its hospitals were still filling and the government toughened restrictions.

On the same day last week, the country of 10.7 million people reported 22,957 new cases of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Although hospitalisations dropped to 6,169 on Friday compared to the previous day, the number of people treated in hospitals has doubled over the past three weeks and some stopped non-urgent procedures.

The Czech government ordered bars and clubs to close at 10 p.m. as of Friday and banned Christmas markets in an attempt to stem one of the world’s highest infection rates.

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New COVID variant detected in South Africa

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Britain on Thursday said it was concerned by a newly identified coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa that might make vaccines less effective and imperil efforts to fight the pandemic. Flora Bradley-Watson reports.

The UK on Thursday banned flights from six southern African countries due to a new coronavirus variant spreading there, Reuters reported.

According to the report the new variant, called B.1.1.529, has alarmed global health officials as it appears to be more transmissible and may evade vaccines.

That’s because its spike protein is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that the COVID-19 vaccines are based on.

Britain’s health secretary said it was important to act fast:

“We will be suspending all flights from six southern African countries and we will adding those countries to the travel red list. Those countries are South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Zimbabwe and Botswana. And we will be requiring anyone that arrives from those countries from 4am on Sunday to quarantine in hotels.”

“Our scientists are deeply concerned about this variant. I’m concerned, of course, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve taken this action today.”

Earlier on Thursday, South African scientists said they had detected the new COVID-19 variant in small numbers and were working to understand its potential implications.

The variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, but the UK Health Security Agency said no cases of it had been detected in Britain, read the report.

The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the new variant.

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