China reports first new local virus case in four days

China reports first new local virus case in four days
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Security personnel wearing face masks to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk along a street outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, China March 18, 2020. (REUTERS)
China reports first new local virus case in four days
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Buses carrying members of a medical assistance team from Shenyang leave Shenyang Taoxian Airport upon their return home after helping with the COVID-19 coronavirus recovery effort in Wuhan, in Shenyang in China's northeastern Liaoning province on March 20, 2020. (AFP)
China reports first new local virus case in four days
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Medical staff treat check a mobile phone as they treat COVID-19 coronavirus patients at a hospital in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on March 19, 2020. (AFP)
China reports first new local virus case in four days
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Members of a medical assistance team from Jiangsu province chant slogans at a ceremony marking their departure after helping with the COVID-19 coronavirus recovery effort, in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on March 19, 2020. (AFP)
China reports first new local virus case in four days
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A medical worker (R) embraces a member of a medical assistance team from Jiangsu province at a ceremony marking their departure after helping with the COVID-19 coronavirus recovery effort, in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on March 19, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 22 March 2020

China reports first new local virus case in four days

China reports first new local virus case in four days
  • The new domestic infection came about in Guangdong province, and was linked to a previous imported case, according to local authorities

BEIJING: China reported 46 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, including its first case of local transmission in four days.
While the number of virus cases has been falling over the past few weeks in China, there has been growing concern around imported cases as countries around the world step up their fight against the pandemic.
An estimated 900 million people in 35 countries are now confined to their homes, including 600 million cooped in due to government lockdown orders, according to an AFP tally.
While about 56 million people in China’s central Hubei province had been locked down since late January, authorities have begun to ease travel restrictions as the number of fresh infections in Hubei dropped to zero.
On Sunday, China reported 46 new virus cases, with all but one brought in from other countries. For the three consecutive days before, it had no new local cases.
The new domestic infection came about in Guangdong province, and was linked to a previous imported case, according to local authorities.
This is the highest number of new infections from abroad that China has seen in recent days, bringing the tally of imported cases to 314.
China has been stepping up measures to deal with cases from overseas, with Beijing and other regions forcing international arrivals to go into a 14-day quarantine. The civil aviation ministry also said it would limit passenger numbers on inbound international flights.
The death toll from the virus has spiked to over 13,000 worldwide, with the crisis shifting from Asia to Europe — which now accounts for more than half the world’s fatalities linked to COVID-19.
Italy, which reported nearly 800 deaths on Saturday alone, has been the worst-hit.
 


Kabul says no impact on security as US reduces troops to 2,500

The Pentagon confirmed the reduction of US troops on Friday in accordance with President Donald Trump administration’s November pledge to cut the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January. (Reuters/File Photo)
The Pentagon confirmed the reduction of US troops on Friday in accordance with President Donald Trump administration’s November pledge to cut the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 35 min 33 sec ago

Kabul says no impact on security as US reduces troops to 2,500

The Pentagon confirmed the reduction of US troops on Friday in accordance with President Donald Trump administration’s November pledge to cut the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • Reduction means the lowest level of US forces in Afghanistan since 2001, when the US invaded the country and ousted the Taliban
  • Taliban welcome the US move, describing it as important in the implementation of a historic deal signed by the group and Washington in February

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan National Security Council said on Saturday that the reduction of US forces in the country has no major impact on the security situation, as Washington announced it had met its goal of decreasing the number of troops to 2,500.

The Pentagon confirmed the reduction of US troops on Friday in accordance with President Donald Trump administration’s November pledge to cut the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January.

The troop reduction means the lowest level of American forces in Afghanistan since 2001, when the US invaded the country and ousted the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan from 1996.

“The reduction or increase of the American forces does not have any major negative impact on the fighting situation in Afghanistan,” Maulvi Rahmatullah, spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council, said in a video response to the Pentagon announcement.

However, Afghanistan’s vice president, Amrullah Saleh, said in a BBC interview on Friday that the “pullout risks more violence in the unstable country.”

He added that the American mission, which began 20 years ago, is not yet accomplished and that the US had made a mistake by conceding too much to the Taliban.

The Taliban, meanwhile, have welcomed the US move, describing it as an important step toward the implementation of a historic deal signed by the group and Washington in Doha, Qatar, in February last year, under which all US-led troops would leave Afghanistan within 14 months.

“We consider the decision as a good and effective step toward the implementation of the Doha agreement. We, the Islamic Emirate, are also committed to all sections of the Doha agreement,” Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Arab News on Saturday.

He said the Taliban hoped that the Doha agreement would be fully implemented and all American forces would leave Afghanistan in the agreed timeframe.

“We consider withdrawal of the troops and leaving Afghan soil as a positive step for the people of the US and Afghans, and welcome it,” Mujahid said.

While acting US Defense Secretary Chris Miller said on Friday that the US was planning “further reducing US troop levels to zero by May of 2021,” he added that “any such future drawdowns remain conditions-based.”

As the Trump administration ends its term when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday, there have been few clues about what the new US government plans are for Afghanistan.