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WHO declares global health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Monkeypox spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions

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WHO declares global health emergency over monkeypox outbreak
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Geneva: The rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency, the World Health Organization’s highest level of alert, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday.

The WHO label – a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)” – is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.

Members of an expert committee that met on Thursday to discuss the potential recommendation were split on the decision, with nine members against and six in favour of the declaration, prompting Tedros himself to break the deadlock, he told reporters.

“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” Tedros told a media briefing in Geneva.

“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he added.

He said the risk of monkeypox – which spreads via close contact and tends to cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions – was moderate globally, except in Europe, where the WHO has deemed the risk as high.

The White House said the declaration was a “call to action for the world community to stop the spread of this virus.” Raj Panjabi, director of the White House pandemic preparedness office, said a “coordinated, international response is essential” to stop the spread of the disease and protect communities at the greatest risk of contracting it.

Previously, Tedros has typically endorsed expert committee recommendations, but two sources told Reuters earlier on Saturday said he had likely decided to back the highest alert level due to concerns about escalating case rates and a short supply of vaccines and treatments.

So far this year, there have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox in more than 75 countries and five deaths in Africa.

The viral disease has been spreading chiefly in men who have sex with men in the recent outbreak, outside Africa where it is endemic.

Health experts welcomed the WHO’s decision to issue the PHEIC declaration, which until now had only been applied to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio.

“The right result is clear – not declaring an emergency at this point would be a historic missed opportunity,” said Lawrence Gostin, a professor at Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., calling the decision politically brave.

The decision should help contain the spread of the viral disease, said Josie Golding, head of epidemics and epidemiology at the Wellcome Trust.

“We cannot afford to keep waiting for diseases to escalate before we intervene,” she said.

JUNE MEETING

The WHO and national governments have been facing intense pressure from scientists and public health experts to take more action on monkeypox.

Cases of the viral disease have ballooned since the committee first met at the end of June when there were only about 3,000 cases.

At the time, the expert group agreed to reconsider their position on the emergency declaration if the outbreak escalated.

One of the key issues driving a reassessment was whether cases would spread to other groups, particularly children or others who have been vulnerable to the virus in past outbreaks in endemic countries.

On Friday, the United States identified its first two monkeypox cases in children.

WHO officials said on Saturday they were exploring the possibility of the virus spreading via new modes of transmission.

SOURCE: Reuters

Pakistan

Gold price falls by Rs2,800 per tola in Pakistan

The price of gold settled at Rs142,600 per tola

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Gold price falls by Rs2,800 per tola in Pakistan

Karachi: Gold price in Pakistan plunged by Rs2,800 per tola despite the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and rising international prices.

The price of gold settled at Rs142,600 per tola. Meanwhile, with a fresh decline of Rs2,397 per 10 grams, the gold price settled at Rs122,256.

Gold is facing some pressure with the resumption of the dollar strength and also because the minutes talked about hiking rates.

Cumulatively, the yellow metal gained Rs11,200 per tola during August 16-17; recovering the losses incurred during the period of August 10-15 which amounted to Rs9,300 per tola. 

It should be noted that the gold price is standing below cost. Gold is cheaper by Rs5,000 per tola compared to its price in Dubai.

In the international market, bullion prices registered nominal gains of $2 per ounce to settle at $1,771 as bond yields slipped despite pressure from a firmer dollar and expectations that the US Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, silver prices in the domestic market remained unchanged at Rs1,540 per tola and Rs1,320.30 per 10 grams today.

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Sports

2nd ODI: Pakistan to face Netherlands today

Pakistan is leading the series by 1-0.

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2nd ODI: Pakistan to face Netherlands today

Rotterdam: The second One-Day International of the three match series between Pakistan and Netherlands will be played on Thursday (today) at Rotterdam.

The match will start at 02:00 pm.

Pakistan is leading the series by 1-0.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mehmood

Netherlands squad

Scott Edwards (c), Musa Ahmad, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi, Logan van Beek, Tom Cooper, Aryan Dutt, Arnav Jain, Viv Kingma, Ryan Klein, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanuru, Tim Pringle, Max O'Dowd, Vikram Singh

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Pakistan

Rain-wind, thundershower expected in most parts of country

Heavy falls are also likely at scattered places in Sindh, eastern Balochistan and Punjab

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Rain-wind, thundershower expected in most parts of country

Islamabad: Rain-wind/thundershower is expected in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan during the next twelve hours.

Heavy falls are also likely at scattered places in Sindh, eastern Balochistan, South Punjab and Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the period.

Temperature of some major cities recorded this morning:  

Islamabad and Peshawar twenty-five degree centigrade, Lahore twenty-eight, Karachi twenty-seven, Quetta twenty-one, Gilgit twenty, Murree seventeen and  Muzaffarabad twenty-two degree centigrade.   

According to Met Office forecast for Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, partly cloudy/chances of rain-wind and thundershower in Srinagar, Jammu, leh, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula.

Temperature recorded this morning:          

Srinagar, Anantnag and Shopian nineteen degree centigrade, Jammu twenty-eight, Leh fourteen, Pulwama and Baramula twenty degree centigrade.    

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