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Coronavirus: All you need to know about symptoms and risks | News

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Countries around the world are scrambling to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of July 30, more than 667,000 people worldwide have died of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has reached over 17 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 10 million people have recovered.

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Here is what you need to know:

What is a coronavirus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

These viruses were originally transmitted from animals to people. SARS, for instance, was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS moved to humans from a type of camel.

Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the virus looks like it is surrounded by a solar corona.

The novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and since named SARS-CoV-2, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

What are the symptoms?

According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Other signs include loss of taste or smell as well as muscle aches.

In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, multiple organ failure and even death.

Current estimates of the incubation period – the time between infection and the onset of symptoms – range from one to 14 days. Most infected people show symptoms within five to six days.

However, infected patients can also be asymptomatic, meaning they do not display any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.

Read more on what the coronavirus does to your body if you catch it here.

INTERACTIVE: Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms explainer

How deadly is it?

The number of fatalities from the new coronavirus has overwhelmingly surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which also originated in China.

SARS killed about 9 percent of those it infected – nearly 800 people worldwide and more than 300 in China alone. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those infected.

While the new coronavirus is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4 percent, according to the WHO.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 which may result in increased stress during a crisis.

People who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes also seem to be at high risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

Where have cases been reported?

Since March 16, more cases were registered outside mainland China than inside, marking a new milestone in the spread of the global pandemic. 

The virus has spread from China all around the world, prompting the WHO to label the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Human-to-human transmissions became evident after cases were recorded with no apparent link to China.

Read about which countries have confirmed cases here.

What is being done to stop it from spreading?

Scientists around the globe are racing to develop a vaccine but have warned it is not likely one will be available for mass distribution before 2021.

Meanwhile, a growing number of countries have introduced a series of sweeping measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including nationwide lockdowns, bans on gatherings, closure of schools, restaurants, bars and sports clubs, as well as issuing mandatory work-from-home decrees.  

International airlines have cancelled flights the world over. Some countries have banned non-citizens from entering their territories, and several more have evacuated their citizens from abroad.

Where did the virus originate?

Chinese health authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the virus, which they say likely came from a seafood market in Wuhan, China where wildlife was also traded illegally.

On February 7, Chinese researchers said the virus could have spread from an infected animal species to humans through illegally-trafficked pangolins, which are prized in Asia for food and medicine.

Scientists have pointed to either bats or snakes as possible sources of the virus. 

CARD: Coronavirus timeline

Is this a global emergency?

Yes, this outbreak is a global health emergency, the WHO said on January 30, raising the alarm further on March 11 when it declared the crisis a pandemic.

The international health alert is a call to countries around the world to coordinate their response under the guidance of the WHO.

There have been five global health emergencies since 2005 when the declaration was formalised: swine flu in 2009, polio in 2014, Ebola in 2014, Zika in 2016 and Ebola again in 2019.

Are smokers more likely to be at risk from coronavirus?

Smoking can make people more susceptible to serious complications from a coronavirus infection, the European Union agency for disease control said.

In its updated assessment of the risks caused by the coronavirus, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) included smokers among those potentially most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Smokers have also appeared to be more susceptible to breathing complications caused by the disease, and the ECDC said it was advisable to identify them as a potential vulnerable group, confirming an earlier assessment.

corona social cards

The agency cited a study by Chinese doctors which on a sample of 99 patients affected by the coronavirus found that acute smokers were more at risk of dying than elderly people.

The ECDC report also said smoking was associated with heightened activity in the lungs of an enzyme, ACE2, that could make patients more vulnerable to COVID-19, citing a study conducted by Guoshuai Cai, from the University of South Carolina.

The activity of ACE2, or angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, also increases with age and with some kinds of hypertension treatment – both risk factors – the ECDC said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet

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FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.


According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.



Source – observer.ug

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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News

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The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'

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Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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