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What we know and don’t know about the coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: February 7, 2020)

The spread of a new coronavirus in mainland China and to 27 countries and regions beyond is alarming health experts. Here is what we know – and do not know – about the virus:

HOW DANGEROUS IS THE VIRUS?

The coronavirus family of viruses includes the common cold and more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Many of those with the new virus who have died had pre-existing medical conditions or were elderly, those with weakened immune systems.

Coronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough and breathing difficulties.

Statistics from China indicate that about 2% of people infected with the new virus have died, suggesting it may be deadlier than seasonal flu but less deadly than SARS, which killed about 10% of infected individuals. The MERS outbreak in 2012 had a fatality rate of about 35%.

Scientists have labeled the new virus 2019-nCoV.

HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED AND HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED?

The virus can be transmitted via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes, and can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles.

Experts have said it is more easily transmitted than the SARS virus. The incubation period is up to 14 days. People may be able to infect others before symptoms appear.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people frequently wash hands, cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and avoid close contact with those who are sick.

DO FACE MASKS HELP?

“We recommend the use of masks for people who have symptoms … because the virus transmits through droplets,” says medical expert Sylvie Briand.

But they do not guarantee protection against infection.

“For people who don’t have symptoms, the mask in fact is not useful,” Briand says.

The American Centers for Disease Control’s advice is that face masks are not required for the general public.

IS THERE ANY TREATMENT?

There is no vaccine.

Chinese scientists were able to identify the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus and shared it publicly. Scientists in Australia have developed a lab-grown version of the virus, a step toward creating a vaccine.

Drugmakers around the globe expect to begin testing experimental vaccines on humans in about three months.

WHERE HAS IT SPREAD?

About 99% of the more than 20,000 cases have been reported in mainland China. Nearly 230 cases have been reported in about 27 other countries and regions, a Reuters tally based on official statements shows.

At least 490 people have died in China, most in and around the city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged late last year. One person has died in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines, both following visits to Wuhan.

Singapore confirmed four more coronavirus cases on Feb. 5 taking its tally to 28. Thailand has 25 cases.

It took the new coronavirus 48 days to infect the first1,000 people. It took SARS 130 days to infect 1,000 people. It took MERS 2.5 years to infect 1,000 people.

WHAT ARE AUTHORITIES DOING?

The Chinese government has virtually locked down the central province of Hubei, home to 60 million people, and its capital Wuhan.

China is facing mounting isolation as airlines suspend flights to its cities.

The United States and Australia have banned entry to foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China.

Many countries have evacuated their citizens from Hubei and are putting them in quarantine or isolation upon return.

The WHO has not recommended travel or trade curbs with China.

WHERE DID THE VIRUS COME FROM?

It is believed to have originated in a food market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health experts think it may have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via another species.

Source: Reuters

COVID-19

135 new Coronavirus cases registered – Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health says that in the last twenty-four hours, 135 positive cases of Coronavirus have been registered in the whole country, with Kabul having the highest number of cases of Covid-19 with 51 people.

Coronavirus cases are declining in Afghanistan. However, the number of patients in the country is still in the triple digits.

 According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, 135 positive cases of Coronavirus have been registered in the country in the last 24 hours, of which 51 were in Kabul, 37 in Herat, 16 in Ghor, nine in Logar, nine in Balkh, four in Kunduz, three in Baghlan, three in Laghman, two in Takhar and one in Kunar have been infected with the Coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health has said that with the registration of these cases, the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Afghanistan has reached 34,740.

“Over the past 24 hours, 135 positive cases of the coronavirus have been identified in Afghanistan,” said Masoumah Jafari, deputy spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health.

The ministry added that 24 people had died in the past 24 hours and that the death toll from the Coronavirus had risen to 1,062.

According to the Ministry of Health, in the past 24 hours, 279 people with the Coronavirus have recovered and the number of recoveries has reached 21,454.

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Around 3,000 civilians casualties in six months: AIHRC

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in its six-month report that 1,213 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,744 were injured in the first six months of 2020. These casualties were reported in 880 incidents.

The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said that the death toll was up 19 percent from last year. In the first six months of this year, an average of 16 civilians killed every day, according to the report.

According to the Afghan Human Rights Commission, 31 percent of all civilian casualties were in targeted assassinations, 26 percent as a result of landmine and car bombings, and 11.7 percent in suicide attacks, 11.5 percent in ground warfare, as well as airstrikes and night operations.

533 killed and 412 wounded as a result of targeted assassinations.

A total of 259 civilians were killed and at least 507 were injured when mines and car bombs exploded. Civilian casualties in these types of incidents show a seven percent increase compared to the same time last year.

According to the report, the number of female deaths in the first six months of 2020 has decreased by 0.5 percent compared to the first half of 2019.

“In 2020, a total of 378 civilians were victims of rocket attacks, including 117 deaths and 261 injuries,” said Naeem Nazari, deputy director of the Human Rights Commission. “The number of civilian casualties from rocket attacks is 47% lower than in the first half of last year.”

According to the findings of the Human Rights Commission, of the total civilian casualties in the first six months of 2020, 48.5% were caused by the Taliban, 26.7% by unknown perpetrators, 15.5% by government forces, and 6.3% by ISIS, 2.3 percent were carried out by international forces, and the rest were casualties from rocket fire by Pakistani forces in Kunar, Kandahar, Paktia and Khost provinces.

The Ministry of Interior does not reject the possibility of civilian casualties but says police have worked to prevent civilian casualties during the war.

The Afghan Human Rights Commission urges the war parties in Afghanistan to respect the international humanitarian law treaties, not to harm civilians during armed conflict, and to immediately start peace talks by establishing a ceasefire.

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Embezzlement in Afghan customs; $1 billion annually lost to graft

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(Last Updated On: July 14, 2020)

More than $1 billion annually is being lost to embezzlement from the Afghan customs revenues. 

Integrity Watch of Afghanistan said Tuesday local tyrants have embezzled millions of dollars from Herat customs, adding that the government has no plan to prevent stealing of public treasury.

A statistic shared by officials from Herat customs shows that the customs have more than 30 billion AFN incomes per year but less than 20 billion AFN had been collected in the government’s account.

Since 1390, the Persian calendar, the Ministry of Finance and Herat customs have recorded annual revenue figures as follow:

In 1390, Herat Customs had 16 billion AFN incomes. The revenues in 1392 declined to 13 billion AFN and decreased to 9 billion AFN in 1393 compared to the previous years.

The statistics show 12 billion AFN incomes in 1394, while the figure increased to 20 billion AFN in 1396 and 1397. On 1398 the incomes once again declined to 16 billion AFN.

Meanwhile, in Twitter and Facebook posts a senior official of Herat customs has also shared daily incomes of the organization for the current year: On March 4, daily income was 136 million AFN, on July 8 the revenue was 119 million AFN and on July 9 the income was 122 million AFN, according to the statistics.

Meanwhile, the incomes of the organization could reach 33 billion AFN in the current year, figures show.

The Herat customs have averaged more than 10 billion AFN in revenue each year, but these figures do not reflect the actual incomes.

The Ministry of Finance, however, says not only the customs of Herat but also no customs across the country have the same revenue per year, due to a high volume of goods.

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