Chinese authorities have on Monday said the outbreak of new coronavirus in has spread to more cities in the country including Beijing, as the number of patients tripled and a third person died.
In Beijing, Daxing health commission said it had confirmed two cases of coronavirus and are in stable condition, while the southern Guangdong province’s health commission confirmed one case in Shenzhen.
Medical experts are still struggling to understand the new strain of coronavirus but its connection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has caused alarm.
According to reports by Al Jazeera, SARS originated in southern China in 2002 before spreading to Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world, infecting thousands and leaving more than 800 persons dead.
Currently, the total number of known cases worldwide is more than 200, underscoring the challenge for health authorities seeking to contain the outbreak, as hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists will be traveling domestically and abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday period later this week.
On Monday, South Korea reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus, a 35-year-old female Chinese national who had traveled from where the virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan in late December, the fourth patient to be reported outside China.
WHO Warns That Malaria Fight Has Stalled
The World Health Organization says progress in the fight against malaria appears to have stalled.
The agency has warned, in its annual report on malaria, that the number of cases and deaths related to the disease has remained largely unchanged in the past two years, in contrast to the dramatic falls seen since the turn of the century. It’s feared that a shortage of funds for anti-malaria programmes will be worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Malaria kills at least 400,000 persons every year, vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Efforts to control the mosquito-borne disease are also being threatened by growing resistance to some drugs.
Kenya Records Highest COVID-19 Cases In November
The Kenyan ministry of health has declared November the darkest month since coronavirus struck the country in March having recorded 28,124 cases and 456 fatalities.
The country’s health minister Mutahi Kagwe said the number of cases recorded this month has doubled those recorded in October and September combined pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 83,316 including 1,452 deaths.
Last week, Kenya authorities reduced the number of guests allowed at wedding ceremonies to 50 because of rising coronavirus cases.
In August, president Uhuru Kenyatta had increased the number of guests allowed in weddings to 100 as he eased restrictions.
However, local media reports that authorities fear that cases may increase during the December festivities.
Kenyan health workers have been badly hit and have issued strike notices demanding for protective gear, better medical insurance and allowances.
Madagascar Takes Last Stand On COVID-19 Vaccine, Refuses Immunization
Madagascar has affirmed its decision not to participate in the global coronavirus vaccine initiative- COVAX for the access to COVID-19 vaccine once they have been approved and licensed.
The government spokesperson confirmed the island will instead resort to its traditional herbal mixture that its own scientists discovered earlier this year to stem the virus. The World Health Organization has not approved the mixture.
Vaccines in Madagascar have never been popular among the general population. The island in 2018 was among the last four countries in the world registering polio cases from its stance on vaccines.
Meanwhile, the government spokesperson said they were waiting to see the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine first in the countries that will first use it.
The World Health Organization has urged on Friday countries in Africa to prepare for the arrival of a vaccine as soon as possible. W.H.O warned that African countries are far from ready to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine, whenever one becomes available.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention AfricaCDC has also said vaccinating people will be a big challenge in Africa where more than 2.1 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed –that’s less than 4% of the global total cases.
People on the Africa continent have been urged to rely on the public health measures that have been put in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.