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COVID-19

Coronavirus: Afghanistan records highest daily increase in cases

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(Last Updated On: May 23, 2020)

The Ministry of Public Health said that out of 1,582 suspicious samples, 782 have been positive, bringing the total number of positive cases in Afghanistan to 9,998.

The number of Coronavirus cases in Afghanistan is rising day by day, as of Friday, May 22nd recorded the highest number of Coronavirus cases in a single day in Afghanistan.

The registered cases are as follows: 377 cases in Kabul, 150 in Herat, 49 in Balkh, 47 in Ghazni, 32 in Nangarhar, 28 in Paktia, 21 in Samangan, 12 in Baghlan, 12 in Logar, 12 in Paktika, 11 in Kapisa, 10 in Kunar, 6 In Laghman, 4 in Ghor, 4 in Farah, 4 in Badghis, and 3 in Takhar.

This comes as the death toll of Coronavirus in Afghanistan reached 216.

The Ministry of Public Health expressed its concerns about the situation and emphasized that the only way to prevent more people from being infected and changing the situation is to return to quarantine.

The Health Ministry prepared a new quarantine plan, which will be presented to the presidential palace soon.

COVID-19

WHO: COVID still an emergency but nearing ‘inflection’ point

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(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

The coronavirus remains a global health emergency, the World Health Organization chief said Monday, after a key advisory panel found the pandemic may be nearing an “inflexion point” where higher levels of immunity can lower virus-related deaths, AP reported.

Speaking at the opening of WHO’s annual executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “there is no doubt that we’re in a far better situation now” than a year ago — when the highly transmissible Omicron variant was at its peak.

But Tedros warned that in the last eight weeks, at least 170,000 people have died around the world in connection with the coronavirus. He called for at-risk groups to be fully vaccinated, an increase in testing and early use of antivirals, an expansion of lab networks, and a fight against “misinformation” about the pandemic.

“We remain hopeful that in the coming year, the world will transition to a new phase in which we reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest possible level,” he said.

Tedros’ comments came moments after WHO released findings of its emergency committee on the pandemic which reported that some 13.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered — with nearly 90% of health workers and more than four in five people over 60 years of age having completed the first series of jabs.

“The committee acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic may be approaching an inflexion point,” WHO said in a statement. Higher levels of immunity worldwide through vaccination or infection “may limit the impact” of the virus that causes COVID-19 on “morbidity and mortality,” the committee said.

“(B)ut there is little doubt that this virus will remain a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future,” it said. While Omicron versions are easily spread, “there has been a decoupling between infection and severe disease” compared to that of earlier variants.

Committee members cited “pandemic fatigue” and the increasing public perception that COVID-19 isn’t as much of a risk as it once was, leading to people to increasingly ignore or disregard health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.

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China announces resumption of visas for Japanese

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2023)

China announced it was resuming issuing visas for Japanese travelers beginning Sunday, ending its nearly three-week suspension in an apparent protest of Tokyo’s tougher COVID-19 entry requirements for tourists from China, AP reported.

The decision was announced in a statement posted on the Chinese Embassy’s website.

China stopped issuing new visas in Japan on Jan. 10 in apparent retaliation for Tokyo’s requirement of additional tests for Chinese tourists in late December, ahead of Lunar New Year holidays.

Japan cited soaring infections in China after it abruptly eased coronavirus restrictions as well as scarce COVID-19 data from Beijing.

Japan reopened its borders for individual tourists in October, allowing travelers with proof of vaccination instead of testing at airports unless they show symptoms.

But on Dec. 30, Japan required all travelers from China to show pre-departure negative tests and take an additional test upon arrival.

China also stopped issuing visas to South Koreans after South Korea in early January did the same for short-term travelers from China.

Last Friday, South Korea said it would keep the measure in place through the end of February over concerns that the spread of COVID-19 in China may worsen following Lunar New Year travel.

Health authorities in China have said infections have peaked but there are concerns abroad that Beijing was not sharing enough data.

The latest wave of infections in Japan appears to be subsiding in recent weeks, with confirmed daily cases falling to about one-fifth of the peak in early January.

Japan’s government last week announced plans to downgrade COVID-19 to an equivalent of seasonal influenza in May, a move that would further relax mask wearing and other preventive measures as the country seeks to return to normalcy.

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China celebrates Lunar New Year like COVID no longer exists

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2023)

China has celebrated the Lunar New Year with abandon this year, as millions of people traveled, packed into tourist spots, and gathered in large numbers – marking an end to the country’s three-year “zero COVID” experiment.

More than 300 million trips were made during the holiday, nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism told Bloomberg.

While the revelry is a relief after recurring lockdowns, it also carries the risk of reigniting the omicron wave that scorched the country in recent weeks, filling hospitals and overwhelming crematoriums.

“Pent-up demand is being released as many people rush to scenic spots, watch firework shows and crowd into restaurants and hotels,” Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc., wrote in a note on Thursday. Government-released data “suggest the ‘exit wave’ is quickly coming to an end.”

The speed with which China charged through its reopening is unrivaled. A month ago, the government estimated 37 million people a day were contracting the virus. The streets went quiet. Just as quickly, the population appears to have turned the page, Bloomberg reported.

Nevertheless, it remains unclear how severe and widespread the outbreak is. The government stopped universal testing and changed how it defines COVID-19 mortality, clouding official reports. According to a report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, the number of patients hospitalized with severe disease or dying from COVID-19 has declined more than 70% from the peak in early January.

While extreme weather in some regions exacerbated traffic, many people were undaunted by the challenge or the risk of supercharging the world’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak. Total bookings were four times higher than last year, when strict measures limited travel as well as the spread of the virus, according to Trip.com.

The jubilation of reopening was mixed with tourism-related headaches. Carol Gong, who reunited with her family in Shanghai, was overwhelmed by the crowds during a day trip to Disneyland.

“It looked as if we were watching a zombie movie, as people lined up heel-to-heel and shoulder-to-shoulder in a meandering queue,” said Gong, who waited an hour in freezing weather to get into the theme park. Still, it was worth it, she said. “People are so relieved that China has reopened. They’re starting to relax and enjoy life.”

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