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USA: Iowa: Flight to End Polio rescheduled due to coronavirus threat | KCRG.

[Mar 11, 2020]

Jay Greene writes:

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Two eastern Iowa pilots who were scheduled to fly around the world later this month are changing their plans over concerns of the coronavirus.

Peter Teahen and John Ockenfels were supposed to take part in the Flight to End Polio on March 24, but it is now rescheduled to July 2020.

Their trip is scheduled to take 51 days and stop in 17 countries, including India, Jordan and Pakistan. The pilots will then spread awareness about the severity of polio.

Polio eradication has been a primary focus of Rotary International for more than 35 years.

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Afghanistan: Weekly Humanitarian Update (2 March - 8 March 2020) | ReliefWeb.

[Source: OCHA] [Published: 11 Mar 2020] [Origin: View original]

Northeast: Fighting reported in several areas, over 5,000 people received humanitarian aid.

Fighting between a Non-State Armed Group (NSAG) and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) resumed in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Takhar provinces following a week of relative calm after the reduction of violence agreement.

Last week, 5,334 people affected by conflict received humanitarian assistance in Baghlan, Takhar and Kunduz provinces. Moreover, 273 internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by conflict were assessed and will receive assistance in the coming days in Baghlan province.

East: Over 7,000 people displaced in Kunar.

Last week, clashes continued between an NSAG and ANSF across the eastern part of the country. On 4 March, reportedly 7,000 people were newly displaced from Chawkay, Narang, Nurgal, Dara-e-Pech districts in Kunar province due to the ongoing conflict between the ANSF and Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), and an NSAG and IS-K. Humanitarian partners have scaled up their assessments and response to address the urgent humanitarian needs of people. Five assessment and response teams have been deployed to areas of displacement within Nurgal district in Kunar province and Kuz Kunar, Behsud and Kama districts in Nangarhar province. According to initial reports, the main needs include food, relief items and health services. 1,960 internally displaced people were assisted with cash for relief items and food, with more assistance to come.

Heavy rainfalls in Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces contributed to the destruction of houses (affecting 217 families), deaths of four people and injuries of 25 others. Four interagency assessments teams have been deployed to the areas to identify humanitarian needs.

Last week, interagency assessment teams identified 5,915 IDPs to receive humanitarian assistance in the coming days across the eastern part of the country; and 4,333 IDPs received humanitarian assistance in Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar provinces. In addition, 5,903 returnees, IDPs and people from host communities were reached with emergency outpatient health services. This week, a total of 5,929 children were vaccinated for polio and measles.

North: Two people confirmed to have COVID-19 in Samangan.

Fighting between an NSAG and ANSF continued in Balk, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul and Jawzjan provinces. According to the Ministry of Public Health, two people were confirmed to have COVID-19 in Samangan province on 11 March.

Last week, 700 IDPs affected by conflict received humanitarian assistance in Balk province. Also, 4,956 people in protracted displacement received winterisation support in Maymana city, Faryab province. Interagency assessment teams identified 2,212 people displaced by conflict in Balkh, Faryab, Sar-e-Pul and Jawzjan provinces to receive humanitarian assistance in the coming days.

South: Over 4,000 people displaced in Hilmand and Kandahar.

Fighting continued between an NSAG and the ANSF in the southern part of the country with security incidents of varying intensities reported across the region. The ongoing fighting and military operations in the south also caused the displacement of more than 4,000 people in Hilmand and Kandahar provinces.

Last week, 1,107 people received winterisation assistance in Zabul province. In addition, 217 IDPs affected by conflict received humanitarian assistance in Hilmand province; and 279 people affected by natural disasters received humanitarian assistance in Zabul province. Needs assessments are ongoing by humanitarian partners in Hilmand, Kandahar, Zabul and Nimroz provinces.

Centre: Civilians affected by violence in Kabul.

On 6 March, according to an Afghan official, over 30 people were killed and dozens more injured by an attack on an event in Police District 6 in Kabul City. The casualties reportedly included women and children. The attack was claimed by IS-K. On 2 March, three civilians were killed and seven others were wounded in an Improvised Explosive Devise detonation near a football stadium in Nadir Shah Kot district, Khost province. The incident happened two days after the US-Taliban agreement was signed in Doha. No group has claimed responsibility for this incident. On 1 March, an NSAG reportedly abducted 50 civilians including university and secondary education students from several villages in Chak-e-Wardak district, Maidan Wardak province. Negotiations with community elders and the NSAG are ongoing to release the civilians.

Last week 10,962 IDPs, returnees and vulnerable people received winter assistance in Kabul. In addition, 371 IDPs affected by natural disasters received humanitarian assistance in Daykundi province. Interagency assessment teams identified 4,645 people affected by conflict to receive humanitarian assistance in the coming days in Khost and Logar provinces. Assessments are ongoing for more than 3,000 people affected by conflict in Paktya province.

West: Strengthening capacity for COVID-19 response.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, five people in Hirat province were confirmed to have COVID-19. All schools in Hirat have remained closed and public gatherings banned until further notice. As of 11 March, health authorities were investigating 2 people presumptively for COVID-19 across the country and 152 people tested negative. The focus of activities in Afghanistan is on both preparedness and containment, but the overall health capacity in the country to respond to a widespread COVID-19 outbreak is insufficient.

Six temporary WASH facilities installed at the Islam Qala border will be replaced with permanent structures soon and the UN and partners will be supporting with consumable hygiene products and public awareness campaigns on COVID-19 in all districts of Hirat covering 200 villages. Local authorities in Hirat recently decided to move the current Paediatric Hospital (located in the eastern part of the city) to Hirat Regional Hospital, so the paediatric hospital’s facilities can be used as isolation wards.

A total of 364 IDPs were assessed and assisted in Badghis and Ghor provinces. Needs assessments are ongoing across the western part of the country.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit

Download report (PDF | 366.12 KB)

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Pakistan: Polio Case Surfaces From Tank, Toll Reaches 13 In KP | UrduPoint.

[Wed 11th March 2020] Muhammad Irfan writes:

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 11th Mar, 2020 ) :Another case of polio virus was reported from Tank district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday taking the total number of cases to 13 during the current year.

Emergency Operation Centre said the polio case was reported from Jandola area of Tank where a 36-month-old girls was confirmed positive with the virus. It was learnt the father of the girl had refused vaccination to the child.

Samples from the girl were sent to National Institute of Health Islamabad which confirmed presence of polio virus in girls' body.

With surface of this new case the total number of polio virus attacks reached to 27 in the country while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa it was the 13th case during current year.

EOC Coordinator, Abdul Basit said approach to every children and vaccination was prerequisite to save our generations from the crippling disease.

He said anti-polio drive was underway in 16 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and parents must avail this opportunity by vaccinating their children against polio virus.

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Pakistan: Anti Polio Campaign To Start From March 16 | UrduPoint.

[Wed 11th March 2020] Umer Jamshaid writes:

SUKKUR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 11th Mar, 2020 ) :The Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sukkur, Rana Adil Taswar has said that five- day polio immunizations campaign will be commenced from March 16 to 20, 2020, in all union councils of Sukkur district to ensure that each and every child below five years of age is vaccinated against polio disease, which could be overcome through collective struggle of all relevant circles.

While presiding over a meeting here on Wednesday to review the arrangements of the campaign, he said that district administration would take all possible steps for immunization of children against polio disease.

He urged parents to extend full cooperation to the anti-polio teams so that the drive could be made successful.

In this regard, all the arrangements have been finalized by the district administration and polio teams would go door-to-door to administer polio drops to children under the five years of age.

He further said strict monitoring of the campaign should be conducted and work of all the mobile teams should be checked properly.

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Pakistan: Polio Virus Confirmed In A Two Year Old Child In Balochistan’s Zhob | Quetta Voice.

[Mar 11, 2020]

QUETTA: Polio virus has been confirmed in a two year old child in Balochistan’s Zhob district on Wednesday morning. The child belongs to a family, which had refused to administer polio drops to the kid, an official of the Balochistan health department who declined to be named since he was not authorized to speak to media told Quetta Voice.

The number of polio cases rises to five during the current year. The samples of the child were collected and sent to laboratory on February 26 and 27th for test. The laboratory declared the samples positive, the official informed. Last year the number of polio cases was 12.

Refusal on the part of some parents has always been a major obstacle in success of every campaign. Despite refusals, threats and intimidation, the volunteers heroes of Balochistan during campaign knocks every door to administer drops to every child in the province.

Polio teams in Balochistan have been targeted repeatedly by terrorists.

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WHO Declares the Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic | STAT via Scientific American.

[March 11, 2020] Helen Branswell and Andrew Joseph of STAT write:

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, acknowledging what has seemed clear for some time—the virus will likely spread to all countries on the globe.

Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation will worsen.

“We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” said Tedros, as the director general is known.

As of Wednesday, 114 countries have reported that 118,000 have contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, known as SARS-CoV2. In the United States, where for weeks state and local laboratories could not test for the virus, just over 1,000 cases have been diagnosed and 29 people have died. But authorities here warn continuing limits on testing mean the full scale of spread in this country is not yet known.

The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80% of those infected, though about half will have pneumonia. Another 15% develop severe illness and 5% need critical care.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus,” Tedros said at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, in making the announcement. “It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

At the same time, Tedros said: “This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector—so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.”

The virus, which probably originated in bats but passed to people via an as yet unrecognized intermediary animal species, is believed to have started infecting people in Wuhan, China, in late November or early December. Since then the virus has raced around the globe.

While China appears on the verge of stopping its outbreak—it reported only 24 cases on Tuesday—outbreaks are occurring and growing in a number of locations around the world including Italy, Iran and the United States.

South Korea, which has reported nearly 8,000 cases, also appears poised to bring its outbreak under control with aggressive measures and widespread testing. But other countries have struggled to follow the leads of China and South Korea—a reality that has frustrated WHO officials who have exhorted the world to do everything possible to end transmission of the virus.

“The bottom line is: We’re not at the mercy of the virus,” Tedros said on Monday. “The great advantage is that the decisions we all make as governments, businesses, communities, families and individuals can influence the trajectory of this epidemic.”

“The rule of the game is: Never give up,” he insisted.

The WHO has been criticized and second-guessed for not declaring the outbreak a pandemic sooner. Mike Ryan, head of the agency’s health emergencies program, admitted in a press conference on Monday that the agency fears that countries may interpret a pandemic declaration as a sign efforts to contain the virus have failed and they no longer need to try.

“For me, I’m not worried about the word. I’m more concerned about that the world’s reaction will be to that word. Will we use it as a call to action? Will we use it to fight? Or will we use it to give up?” Ryan asked.

Republished with permission from STAT. This article originally appeared on March 11 2020

Read more about the coronavirus outbreak here.



Helen Branswell.

Helen Branswell is STAT's infectious diseases and public health reporter. She comes from the Canadian Press, where she was the medical reporter for the past 15 years. Helen cut her infectious diseases teeth during Toronto's SARS outbreak in 2003 and spent the summer of 2004 embedded at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010-11 she was a Nieman Global Health Fellow at Harvard, where she focused on polio eradication. Warning: Helen asks lots of questions.

Credit: Nick Higgins

Andrew Joseph.

[Reporter at @statnews, covering health and medicine. Past: SA Express-News, SF Chronicle.] Added by ppnews as Scientific American article did not include a bio.


STAT delivers fast, deep, and tough-minded journalism. We take you inside science labs and hospitals, biotech boardrooms, and political backrooms. We dissect crucial discoveries. We examine controversies and puncture hype. We hold individuals and institutions accountable. We introduce you to the power brokers and personalities who are driving a revolution in human health. These are the stories that matter to us all.

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Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now | Medium.

[Updated on 3/11/2020] Tomas Pueyo writes:

With everything that’s happening about the Coronavirus, it might be very hard to make a decision of what to do today. Should you wait for more information? Do something today? What?

Here’s what I’m going to cover in this article, with lots of charts, data and models with plenty of sources:

  • How many cases of coronavirus will there be in your area?
  • What will happen when these cases materialize?
  • What should you do?
  • When?

When you’re done reading the article, this is what you’ll take away:

The coronavirus is coming to you.
It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.

As a politician, community leader or business leader, you have the power and the responsibility to prevent this.

You might have fears today: What if I overreact? Will people laugh at me? Will they be angry at me? Will I look stupid? Won’t it be better to wait for others to take steps first? Will I hurt the economy too much?

But in 2–4 weeks, when the entire world is in lockdown, when the few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives, people won’t criticize you anymore: They will thank you for making the right decision.

Ok, let’s do this.

[Continue reading in source article]

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Video: Coffee With Polio Experts – Dr. Hamid Jafari, Who | GPEI.


Dr. Hamid Jafari, Director of Polio Eradication for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, speaks to us about the actions the programme is taking to turn the tide against the poliovirus in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region.

YouTube video 18:29

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Pakistan: Medical students, polio workers’ help to be sought to contain coronavirus spread | The Express Tribune.

[March 11, 2020 ]

Lists of all final year students has been summoned from all medical colleges in Sindh, say sources. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Lists of all final year students has been summoned from all medical colleges in Sindh, say sources. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Tufail Ahmed writes:

KARACHI: Amid shortage of para-medical staff and health care workers in Sindh, the provincial government has decided to seek assistance of final year medical students and polio workers to deal with coronavirus cases in Karachi, The Express Tribune has learnt.

So far 19 Pakistanis have been tested positive for COVID-19, the mysterious viral pneumonia-like disease caused by the novel coronavirus, with 15 of them belong to Sindh, three to Gilgit-Baltistan and one to Balochistan.

One patient has already fully recovered and was discharged from the hospital in Karachi last week. Most of the cases are linked to Iran which is a new major hotspot of the highly-contagious disease.

The decision was taken in a meeting headed by Director Health Karachi Dr Syed Hashim Shah and attended by district heads of all health centres in Karachi division.

It was revealed during the meeting that the provincial health department is facing shortage of paramedical staff as the majority of the cases mysterious disease have been reported from Sindh.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the officials have decided to deploy the final year medical students and polio workers at different hospitals and airports after giving them training to deal with the COVID-19 cases and identify suspected patients of the novel disease.

First coronavirus case surfaces in Quetta, raising Pakistan’s tally to 19

In a similar decision earlier this month, the federal government had decided to use polio surveillance teams to create awareness and identify suspected patients across the country.

In this regard, the list of final year medical students has been summoned from all private and public medical colleges. Presently, there are 16 nursing schools of private sector and 9 government schools are operating under the Sindh health department in the provincial capital. Whereas, 21 male and female nursing schools are in interior Sindh.

Meanwhile, in another notification the Sindh Health Department has barred its staff from visiting the secretariat without the prior permission of their relevant department head.

The mysterious COVID-19 virus, which originated in a vet market of the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has since then spread to more than 110 countries of the world, killing over 4,000 and infecting more than 115,000 people, mostly in China thus far.

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Philippines: Polio vaccination achieves 108% coverage | SunStar.

[March 10, 2020]

THE second vaccination drive for the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) concluded with a 108 percent coverage for its target population of children ages zero to 10 in Zamboanga City.

Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, City Health Office chief, said from February 17 to March 1, they vaccinated a total of 221,917 children with the bOPV as part of the nationwide “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH).

The Sabayang Patak Konta Polio is aimed to contain and eradicate polio in the country.

Miravite said the third round for the bOPV will be held from March 23 to April 4 for children less than 10 years old.

Following a re-emergence of the polio virus last year, the City Health Office has jointly spearheaded several immunization rounds for monovalent (mOPV) and bOPV to eligible children ages five years below for mOPV and 10 years below, regardless of immunization status.

Miravite said for the mOPV, the two vaccination rounds achieved 103 percent (Round 1 - Nov. 25, 2019 to Dec. 7, 2019) and 110 percent coverage (Round 2 - January 20 to February 2).

She said for the bOPV, the first round was held from January 6 – 12, and achieved 105 percent coverage. (SunStar Zamboanga)

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Pakistan: Strict security steps in place for anti-polio drive in Kohat | DAWN.

[March 10, 2020]

KOHAT/TIMERGARA: Strict security arrangements have been made for anti-polio campaign in Kohat and Section 144 has been imposed across the district to ban display of weapons, pillion riding and use of black glasses in vehicles.

DPO retired Captain Mansoor Aman checked the security measures for the ongoing anti-polio campaign in the district and administered drops to children. He visited various areas and issued instructions to police personnel deployed with polio teams to perform their duty efficiently.

The DPO said that more than 1500 police personnel were deployed for security of polio teams. He said that entire Kohat district was divided into four sectors and each police station was declared sub-sector for security of vaccinators.

The DPO directed police to keep special focus on the security of anti-polio teams and accelerate search and strike operations by seeking cooperation of locals while ensuring strict surveillance of suspected persons.

During the five-day campaign in Kohat, 208,000 children will be vaccinated against polio and a total of940 teams comprising volunteers and health personnel have been formed for this purpose.

Meanwhile, a three-day anti-polio drive was kicked off in parts of Lower Dir on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner Saadat Hasan, DHO Dr Shaukat Ali and assistant commissioners visited different areas and monitored the drive. Dr Shaukat Ali administered anti-polio drops to children in Timergara and formally launched the drive.

Talking to local journalists, he said that more than 300,000 children below five years of age would be vaccinated during the campaign. He said that the district had been polio-free since 2006 but new cases in the adjacent Bajaur tribal district and Afghanistan posed serious threat to local children.

The deputy commissioner also administered drops to several children during his visit to different areas. He directed all the assistant commissioners to strictly monitor the vaccination drive in their respective sub-divisions.

He said that any kind of negligence by health officials during the drive would not be tolerated. He asked the health officials to reach out to all children and achieve their target.

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Infographic: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (3 - 9 March 2020) | OCHA via ReleifWeb.

[Source: OCHA] [Published: 10 Mar 2020]


Three separate outbreaks declared in 2019, for measles, dengue and polio, are still in effect in the Philippines. According to WHO, cases from the three continue to be detected throughout the country.

Between 1 January and 15 February 2020, 1,758 cases and 12 deaths were recorded from the measles outbreak.
During the same period, 29,169 cases and 85 deaths were recorded from dengue. The country is also responding to two poliovirus outbreaks, with 17 polio cases confirmed across the country. Polio vaccination campaigns are ongoing in six regions of Mindanao and Metro Manila.


Some 570 people were temporarily displaced in southern areas of Shan State between 27 February and 8 March due to armed clashes between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army and the Myanmar Armed Forces near the Mongkaing Township. Over 100 people returned to their villages of origin on 4 March, while the remaining families were able to return only between 7 and 8 March. New displacement in southern Shan has been rare in the past year with some 600 people temporarily displaced due to hostilities in the same areas nearly 12 months ago. In northern Shan, on the other hand, continuous outbreaks of violence occurred throughout 2019, resulting in the temporary displacement of some 26,000 people. Additionally, in northern Shan, approximately 9,600 people remain in displacement sites established in 2011-2012.


Between 4-6 March, 27,500 people were affected and two people killed by flooding in 55 villages in North Bolaang Mongondow District of North Sulawesi. According to local government reports, 6,000 homes, 2,000 hectares of agriculture land and crops, and several infrastructure and public facilities were affected by the floods. The local government provided basic relief assistance to those affected.

27,500 people affected

According to the Ministry of Health, 78 deaths due to dengue were reported between January and February 2020, with the highest number of fatalities in West Java, East Nusa Tenggara and East Java. Over 13,800 cases were reported throughout the country in the first two months of the year and the Ministry warned of the increased threat of dengue in April and May, based on outbreaks in previous years.

Download infographic (PDF | 2.15 MB)

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