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Afghanistan Coronavirus updates: 330 new cases, total 3225

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(Last Updated On: May 6, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health has announced that 330 new cases of Coronavirushave been registered in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, bringing the total affected people to 3,225.

Among the newly registered cases, statistics of Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar have the highest number of patients.

The positive cases were recorded as follow: Herat 59 cases, Kabul 45, Kandahar 41, Balkh 38, Paktia 26, Ghazni 5, Nangarhar 13, Logar 10, Laghman 11, Helmand 1, Farah 2, Samangan 10, Takhar 11, Kunduz 5, Faryab 6, Paktika 9, Panjshir 12, Zabul 3, Kapisa 4, Wardak 4, Parwan 7, Kunar 5, and 3 cases in Badakhshan.

The Ministry of Public Health also stated that 421 people have recovered from Coronavirus so far, and 95 others have died.

According to the ministry, five people have died of the virus in the past 24 hours.

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Scientist involved with Wuhan lab says COVID has been ‘biggest cover up in history’

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2022)

A scientist, Andrew Huff, who worked closely with the Wuhan lab has claimed in a new book that COVID was genetically engineered – and accidentally leaked from the facility.

Huff claims the issue is one of the greatest cover-ups in history – and the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11”.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology – a high-security lab specializing in coronaviruses – has for years been the focus of questions as to whether COVID could have escaped from its lab.

Both China and the lab have denied any allegations – but evidence of a lab leak has been piling up over the last two years as scientists, researchers and governments hunt for answers and step forward with evidence.

According to the UK’s Sun newspaper, which was provided with early access to the book, dozens of experts have suggested COVID could have escaped from the Wuhan lab through an infected researcher, improper disposal of waste, or potential breaches in the security at the site.

Even the head of the World Health Organisation reportedly believes COVID did leak from the lab after a “catastrophic accident”.

In his new book – The Truth About Wuhan – Huff claims the pandemic was the result of the US government’s funding of dangerous genetic engineering of coronaviruses in China.

The epidemiologist said China’s gain-of-function experiments – carried out with shoddy biosecurity – led to a lab leak at the US-funded Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Sun reported.

“EcoHealth Alliance and foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he said in his book.

EcoHealth Alliance, of which Huff was former vice president, had been studying different coronaviruses in bats for more than ten years with funding from the National Institutes of Health – and developed close working ties with the Wuhan lab.

Huff, who worked at EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2016 and served as vice president from 2015, worked on the classified side of the research program as a US government scientist.

The army veteran, from Michigan, said the organization taught the Wuhan lab the “best existing methods to engineer bat coronaviruses to attack other species” for many years, the Sun reported.

“The US government is to blame for the transfer of dangerous biotechnology to the Chinese,” he said.

Speaking to The Sun Huff added: “I was terrified by what I saw. We were just handing them bioweapon technology.”

In his book, the emerging infectious diseases expert claims “greedy scientists killed millions of people globally” – and goes as far as to claim the US government covered it up, the Sun reported.

Huff said: “Nobody should be surprised that the Chinese lied about the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 and then went to extraordinary lengths to make it appear as if the disease naturally emerged.

“The shocking part of all of this is how the United States government lied to all of us.”

Although he pointed out he has seen no evidence China deliberately released the virus.

According to the Sun, Huff believes the US-funded project was “mostly a global fishing expedition for coronaviruses” to carry out a gain of function work or for intelligence collection – rather than preventing future pandemics.

“At the time, I felt like the project seemed more like intelligence collection than scientific research and development,” he said in his book.

He alleges the US was using the project to assess the bioweapon capabilities of foreign labs – including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Huff said US government officials issued warnings in January 2018 about the Wuhan lab – including the major shortage of experts needed to safely manage research on deadly coronaviruses.

As he began to unravel the alleged extensive cover-up by the US government, he said the authorities launched a massive campaign of harassment against him.

He claimed military-grade drones would often appear at his home, he was stalked at the supermarket, and he was followed by unknown vehicles.

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Drop in COVID-19 alertness could create deadly new variant: WHO

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(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

Lapses in strategies to tackle COVID-19 this year continue to create the perfect conditions for a deadly new variant to emerge, as parts of China witness a rise in infections, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The comments by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mark a change in tone just months after he said that the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic.

“We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, but we’re not there yet,” Tedros said on Friday.

The global health agency estimates that about 90 percent of the world’s population now has some level of immunity to Sars-Cov-2 either due to prior infection or vaccination, Reuters reported.

“Gaps in testing… and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant of concern to emerge that could cause significant mortality,” Tedros said.

COVID-19 infections are at record highs in China and have started to rise in parts of Britain after months of decline.

Further easing of COVID-19 testing requirements and quarantine rules in some Chinese cities was met with a mix of relief and worry on Friday, as hundreds of millions await an expected shift in national virus policies after widespread social unrest.

“While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities”, Mary Ramsay, director of public health programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said.

The WHO urged governments globally to focus on reaching those at risk, such as people over the age of 60 and those with underlying conditions, for vaccination.

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China set to loosen COVID curbs after week of protests

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

China is set to announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the coming days and a reduction in mass testing, sources told Reuters, a marked shift in policy after anger over the world’s toughest curbs fuelled widespread protests, Reuters reported.

Cases nationwide remain near record highs but the changes come as some cities have been lifting their lockdowns in recent days, and a top official said the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening.

Health authorities announcing the easing in their areas have not mentioned the protests – the biggest show of civil disobedience in China for years – which ranged from candle-lit vigils in Beijing to street clashes with police in Guangzhou, read the report.

The measures due to be unveiled include a reduction in the use of mass testing and regular nucleic acid tests as well as moves to allow positive cases and close contacts to isolate at home under certain conditions, the sources familiar with the matter said.

That is a far cry from earlier protocols that led to public frustrations as entire communities were locked down, sometimes for weeks, after even just one positive case.

The frustration boiled over last week in demonstrations of public defiance unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. The unrest comes as the economy is set to enter a new era of much slower growth than seen in decades, Reuters reported.

On Thursday night, Shanghai train commuters reported wirelessly receiving an unsolicited document onto their phones saying that life in China would only get better if there was a full lifting of lockdown and that Xi step down – an apparently new tactic amid a heavy police presence in some cities ahead of the weekend.

Less than 24 hours after violent protests in Guangzhou on Tuesday, authorities in at least seven districts of the sprawling manufacturing hub, said they were lifting temporary lockdowns. One district said it would allow schools, restaurants and businesses including cinemas to reopen, read the report.

Cities including Chongqing and Zhengzhou also announced easings.

According to Reuters in the capital, Beijing, some communities have begun preparing for changes.

More COVID outbreaks could weigh on China’s economic activity in the near term, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, adding it saw scope for a safe recalibration of policies that could allow economic growth to pick up in 2023, read the report.

China’s strict containment measures have dampened domestic economic activity this year and spilled over to other countries through supply chain interruptions.

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