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COVID-19

WHO team in Wuhan to probe Coronavirus origin

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(Last Updated On: January 15, 2021)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a team of scientists to China’s Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic, to probe the origins of the Coronavirus, WHO confirmed.

The WHO stated in a tweet a 13-member team of expert has arrived in Wuhan on Thursday. 

“The international team of 13 scientists examining the origins of the virus that causes COVID19 arrived in Wuhan, China, today,” WHO tweeted.

The organization stated that the experts will begin their work immediately during the two weeks quarantine protocol for international travelers.

The WHO added that 13 team members have arrived in Wuhan, but two others have been tested positive for Covid-19 before leaving Singapore to China.

“Two scientists are still in Singapore completing tests for COVID-19. All team members had multiple negative PCR and antibody tests for COVID-19 in their home countries prior to traveling,” the organization said.

“They were tested again in #Singapore and were all negative for PCR. But two members tested positive for IgM antibodies. They are being retested for both IgM and IgG antibodies.”

In early 2020, the virus spread in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, and soon the virus spread worldwide.

China has sought to keep information about the spread of the virus under tight control. The country has also punished people for publishing information. The Chinese officials allowed the international team to Wuhan after months of diplomatic disputing.

In December last year, a Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced to four years in jail for reporting the spread of the virus from Wuhan. 

Zhang Zhan, 37, was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a charge used by the Chinese government against the critics.

According to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University, so far, 93,075,435 people around the world have been infected with the virus and 1,993,164 people have died of the virus.

COVID-19

Afghanistan marks one year of Coronavirus

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(Last Updated On: February 24, 2021)

One year ago today, February 24, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Herat, after which the virus gradually spread to all provinces of Afghanistan.

Over the course of the year, nearly 2,500 people have died from the disease in Afghanistan, and over 55,000 positive cases have been recorded.

Coinciding with the one-year infection anniversary, Afghanistan’s vaccine program was officially launched in Herat, with health workers receiving the first shots.

In the past year, 9,222 people were infected with the virus in Herat, of which 431 died. Of these, 296 are men and 135 are women. Officials at the Herat Public Health Department said to date seven doctors in Herat alone have died from the virus.

Herat meanwhile was not only the first hotspot in the country – but it has also suffered a serious second wave, which led to a total lockdown of the city.

As a result, government has, in just three weeks, completed a 100-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients.

New cases have meanwhile started to subside.

On Tuesday, the first vaccines – the Covishield vaccine supplied by India – were administered in Kabul at a ceremony attended by President Ashraf Ghani. The first recipients were health workers, security force members and journalists.

India donated 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

The Public Health Ministry said that 250,000 people – mostly health workers and Afghan security forces and media workers – would be inoculated in the first stage.

The vaccine is now being administered in three provinces – Kabul, Herat and Baghlan.

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COVID-19

Afghanistan begins COVID-19 vaccination drive

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(Last Updated On: February 23, 2021)

Afghanistan officially launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday aimed at immunizing hundreds of thousands of people across the country. 

Health workers, Afghan Security Forces members, and journalists were the first volunteers to get doses of the Indian-made Covishield vaccine in a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the campaign, President Ashraf Ghani stated: “Efforts are underway to provide Coronavirus vaccine to cover 40 percent of the population in the second round.” 

India donated 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

The Public Health Ministry said that 250,000 people – mostly health workers and Afghan security forces and media workers – would be inoculated in the first stage.

Acting Health Minister Waheed Majroh stated: “The fair implementation of the Corona vaccine is the main responsibility of the Ministry of Public Health, and we call on the public, civil society, and the media to cooperate with the Ministry in terms of implementing this responsibility.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Ambassador to Kabul Rudrendra Tandon called for global solidarity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “The Outbreak of Coronavirus has had serious effects on the world. In addition to grave economic impacts, it left casualties; therefore, it is impossible to fight COVID-19 without global solidarity,” Tandon stated.

 Afghanistan has officially registered 55,646 COVID-19 cases and 2,430 deaths

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COVID-19

Guterres reiterates call for global ceasefire amid ongoing pandemic

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(Last Updated On: February 22, 2021)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has renewed his call for a global truce, so the world can focus on fighting the pandemic.

Guterres stated in a tweet late Sunday that a ceasefire would create space for diplomacy and enable humanitarian access across the world.

“I renew my call for a global ceasefire to ease suffering, create space for diplomacy and enable humanitarian access – including for the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide,” he said.

“When people fight each other in the middle of a pandemic, the only winner is the virus,” he tweeted.

This comes as Coronavirus vaccination campaigns are underway across the globe.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers (G-7) on Friday pledged to immunize the developing countries against the virus by increasing funds to $7.5 billion from the G-7 to UN-backed Covid-19 efforts.

So far, over 111 million people have been infected by the virus across the world since the first case was detected in China last year.

According to Johns Hopkins University tally, as many as 2,468,785 people have died of the Covid-19 virus and 62,909,061 others have recovered.

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