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11 killed, 23 injured in snow avalanches, floods

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At least 11 people were killed and 23 wounded across Afghanistan on Wednesday amid heavy snow and rainfall that resulted in avalanches and floods.

The casualties have been reported in Helmand, Nimroz, Farah, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Jawzjan, Takhar, and the Afghan capital Kabul, reported The Khaama Press.

Citing officials of the Taliban, Bakhtar News Agency-Afghan news agency, reported on Wednesday that 90 per cent of the country’s territory witnessed snow or rainfall that led to financial loss besides death toll.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Disaster Management of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has also confirmed the number of deaths and those wounded, reported The Khaama Press.

The recent heavy snow and rainfall have also clogged several highways and flights to Kabul International Airport have also been disrupted.
The Taliban had earlier announced a state of emergency in Afghanistan as heavy snow and rainfall continued to batter the country, reported local media.

Afghanistan’s 32 out of 34 provinces are witnessing repeated snow, rainfall and it has clogged routes. Due to the massive rainfall, floods also erupted in several provinces.
Salang highway that connects Kabul with Northern provinces has been left clogged due to heavy snowfall and wind, said Khaama Press.

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Newzealand PM called off her wedding amid surging Omicron cases

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On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern informed that she had cancelled her wedding amid a new wave of Omicron cases in the country.

“My wedding won’t be going ahead, but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic,” the PM said during a regular COVID-19 news conference today.

The outbreak of nine cases of Omicron in a family who travelled between cities to attend various occasions and the flight attendant also became infected prompted New Zealand to impose its “red setting” restrictions from midnight Sunday.

When asked how she felt about her decision to call off the wedding that was planned for this summer, Ardern replied, “Such is life.”

I’m no different to thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill. That will far outstrip any sadness I experience.”

Last month, New Zealand said it was pushing back its phased border reopening until the end of February over concerns about the Omicron variant, according to CNN.

New Zealand has recorded 15,104 Covid-19 cases and 52 deaths since the pandemic outbreak.

Chris Hipkins, the nation’s minister for COVID-19 response, said: “Waiting till the end of February will increase New Zealand’s overall protection and slow Omicron’s eventual spread. There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out today so they can have time to consider those plans.”

Hipkins also said New Zealand’s Cabinet has agreed to other preventive measures, including reducing the interval between a second Covid-19 vaccine dose and a booster shot from six months to four months and increasing the required length of stay for returning travellers from seven to 10 days in managed isolation and quarantine.

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UAE terror attack blatant violation of international law: India

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Strongly condemning the drone strikes in Abu Dhabi in which two Indians were killed, India has termed the attacks on innocent civilians and infrastructure as a “blatant violation of international law”, stressing that the Security Council should stand united in sending a clear signal against such heinous acts of terror.

At a Security Council open debate on the Middle East on Wednesday, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti expressed strong condemnation of the recent terror attack in Abu Dhabi, in which three people, including two Indians, tragically lost their lives.

Such an attack on innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure are completely unacceptable. It is a blatant violation of international law. It is also against all civilised norms, he said.

Emphasising that India stands in solidarity with the UAE, Tirumurti said New Delhi extends its full support for an unequivocal condemnation by the Council of this terrorist attack. It is important that the Council stands united in sending a clear signal against such heinous acts of terror, he said.

On the morning of January 17, the Houthis targeted the Musaffah ICAD 3 area and the new construction area at Abu Dhabi International Airport, both of which are civilian infrastructure.

The attacks, which led to the explosion of three petroleum tankers, killed two Indian civilians and one Pakistani civilian and injured six other civilians, including two Indians.

The Houthis confirmed responsibility for the attacks, a statement from the UAE mission here said.

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People suspected of having COVID-19 confined to metal boxes in China

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People contracting COVID-19 in China are being forcefully confined to cramped metal boxes with videos of quarantine camps going viral on social media.

China largely controlled its initial outbreak with a mix of lockdowns, border closures and mass testing, but a spike in COVID-19 in some major cities just weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics is a serious cause of concern for the Communist country.

Few residents from cities under lockdown narrated their ordeal to the BBC saying they were part of a ‘big transfer’ of thousands of people to the camps.

Pregnant women, children and the elderly have also been sent to the camps in Xi’an in Central China’s Shaanxi Province and they are forced to stay there for as long as two weeks.

Video clips going viral on social media show people living in tiny metal boxes with wooden beds and attached toilets.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, 20 million have been confined to their homes in China and they can’t even leave their home even to buy food.

The Mail reported that 5.5 million people in China’s Anyang were locked down late Monday after two cases of the omicron variant were reported.

According to a report by Xinhua, Xi’an reported 13 new confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Monday.

The city had registered 2,017 local cases amid the latest resurgence. Of these, 417 had recovered by Monday.

The city kicked off a new round of mass testing in key areas at 9 a.m. Tuesday to further curb the spread of the virus, said Lyu Yongpeng, deputy director of the city’s health commission.

On Saturday, Xi’an had downgraded the classifications of five areas from medium-risk for COVID-19 to low-risk. The city currently has a total of three high-risk areas and 55 medium-risk areas.

Meanwhile, a leading epidemiologist has projected that another major resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in Xi’an is unlikely.

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Covid-19 Stats

25 Jan 2022, 4:18 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

39,799,202 Total Cases
490,462 Death Cases
37,071,898 Recovered Cases

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