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COVID-19

WHO says COVID likely passed from bats to humans through another animal

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(Last Updated On: March 29, 2021)

A joint study between the World Health Organization (WHO) and China on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely”.

According to a draft copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press the findings were largely as expected and left many questions unanswered. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.

The report’s release has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China, AP reported. 

But a WHO official said late last week that he expected it would be ready for release “in the next few days.”

According to AP, the report it received appeared to be the near-final version of it but that it was not clear whether the report might still be changed prior to its release. 

AP stated researchers listed different scenarios in order of likelihood of the origins of the virus. 

They concluded that transmission through a second animal was likely to very likely. They also evaluated direct spread from bats to humans as likely, and said that spread through “cold-chain” food products was possible but not likely.

The closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in bats, which are known to carry coronaviruses, AP reported. 

The report also stated that highly similar viruses have been found in pangolins, but also noted that mink and cats are susceptible to the COVID virus, which suggests they could be carriers.

The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, from mid-January to mid-February, AP reported.

 

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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