1 killed, 2 injured in shooting at Iranian oil company

At least one person was killed and two others were injured after their co-worker opened fire inside an oil and gas company facility in southwestern Iran on Saturday morning.

The incident took place at a chemical laboratory of Gachsaran Oil and Gas Production Company (GOGPC), a subsidiary of Iran’s second-largest crude oil firm, the National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province.

According to local reports, an employee of the company, who had been suspended, targeted his colleagues, which resulted in the death of one and injury of two others.

The actual motive behind the shooting incident, quite rare in Iran, is still not known.

The provincial governor’s office confirmed the incident and said the suspected employee has been arrested by the police and investigations have been launched.

State-run media cited the police commander of Gachsaran county, Arsalan Khademian, as saying that the accused used a shotgun in the incident, causing severe injuries to three of his co-workers, one of whom succumbed upon arrival at the hospital.

He said more details on the incident would be released following police investigations.

Gachsaran county is home to the Gachsaran oil field, the second largest in the country, with around 67 billion barrels of oil-in-place.

The facility where the shooting incident took place on Saturday morning is affiliated with the Gachsaran oil field.

Source: Anadolu Agency

China to release those arrested for violating COVID-19 measures

China on Saturday announced that it will release those arrested in the last three years for violating pandemic measures, after the change in the direction of its COVID-19 policy.

The government called on local governments, courts, law enforcement, and customs units for an end to COVID-19-related prosecutions, as restrictions, imposed under the country’s Border Health and Quarantine Law, will be lifted on Sunday.

It also said the suspects arrested for violating the pandemic measures should be released “in a timely and appropriate manner.”

Quarantine and control measures at the borders will no longer be handled judicially, the government noted, recommending that the relevant units follow a policy of tolerance and non-punishment.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Dec. 26, 2022 that it is downgrading COVID-19 from a Class A infectious disease to Class B to further ease the measures in the country.

COVID-19 has changed from a “novel coronavirus pneumonia” to a “novel coronavirus infection,” it said.

China, as of Sunday, will not impose a quarantine on those entering the country or on COVID-19 patients, in accordance with the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law, the NHC added.

It also said the “daily epidemic information will no longer be released,” while the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which will collect data for “reference and research,” will release the info on a monthly basis.

Source: Anadolu Agency

French government bans online sales of paracetamol due to drug shortages

Faced with drug supply shortages, the French government is banning online sales of paracetamol, a fever and painkiller widely present in French pharmacies.

“The sale over the internet of medicines consisting exclusively of paracetamol will be suspended until Jan. 31, 2023,” the government said in a decree published Wednesday on the official government website.

The decree stated that “tensions over paracetamol-based medicines have persisted for more than six months,” especially those forms intended for children.

The government further said: “The various measures taken by the health authorities, effective as they have been, have not yet made it possible to put an end to this.”

For several months now, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has been asking pharmacists in France to ration the sale of paracetamol.

Last December, the Health Ministry already warned that despite these measures, the situation remained “complex” and could not be resolved for several weeks.

In its Wednesday decree, the government pointed in particular to the worsening health situation in China, where COVID-19 cases have exploded following the sudden lifting of strict health restrictions.

The Chinese government had banned exports of paracetamol, even though the country produces much of the active ingredient, which is used by laboratories worldwide.

Source: Anadolu Agency

New Zealand rejects COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese travelers

New Zealand on Wednesday announced that Wellington will not impose any COVID-19-related restrictions against travelers from China and called the imposition of any restrictions “not required or justified.”

In a statement, the country’s COVID-19 Response Minister Dr. Ayesha Verrall said there is a minimal public health risk to New Zealand.

“In response, officials have done a public health risk assessment including working through scenarios of potential case numbers among travelers from China. This confirmed these visitors won’t contribute significantly to our Covid case numbers, meaning entry restrictions aren’t required or justified,” Verrall said.

Her statement came after several countries including the US, Italy, Malaysia, Spain, Morocco, Qatar, Canada, South Korea, and Taiwan announced requiring negative COVID-19 tests from travelers coming from China.

“There is a minimal public health risk to New Zealand. We know that BF7 is the prevalent variant in China and that it hasn’t caused significant outbreaks in other countries that, like New Zealand, have already been exposed to the BA5 variant. So public health measures are not required to protect New Zealanders,” Verrall added.

Australia also imposes curbs on China travelers

Meanwhile, Australian authorities dismissed China’s retaliation threats over mandatory COVID-19 testing.

“Now, there is a big wave of COVID in China at the moment, every country is still managing in one way or another this pandemic, and so they will take a decision based on their own considerations just as we have on our own considerations and a lot of countries around the world are imposing these kinds of tests,” ABC News quoted Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers as saying.

Canberra also joined other countries to impose mandatory testing on travelers flying from China into Australia despite the country’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly’s advice not to introduce it, according to the broadcaster.

Beijing on Tuesday slammed various COVID-19 measures taken by several nations against travelers from China and warned of “countermeasures” against such steps.

“We firmly reject using COVID measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations via the principle of reciprocity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Mao Ning told a news conference in Beijing.

China is facing an explosive spike in infections after dumping its strict “zero-COVID” policy last month, following unrest and unprecedented protests in parts of the country.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Several dead, injured in blast outside military airport in Kabul: Report

An explosion outside the military airport in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul left several people dead and injured, local media reported on Sunday.

Abdul Nafay Takoor, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the interim government, said that several people were dead and injured in the explosion, without giving the exact figures, according to Tolo News.

“The incident took place at 8:00 in the morning. There were casualties among civilians. There were some injuries. However, officials showed up and intervened,” Mohammad Fahim, a witness, was quoted as saying.

It was the first explosion in Afghanistan in 2023.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Medicine shortage worsens in France

The shortage of medicines in France risks being aggravated in the winter amid a triple epidemic of coronavirus, flu, and bronchiolitis.

Patients are struggling to find pediatric forms of paracetamol and amoxicillin in most pharmacies.

Souhil Cherraben, a pharmacist in the Parisian region of Yvelines, told Anadolu Agency that the shortage that started months ago is affecting a lot of medicines.

He said pediatric forms of Doliprane are becoming hard to find because of supply issues.

“There is not a total shortage but we only receive small quantities,” said Cherraben. “Serious shortages affect amoxicillin which is an antibiotic for children.”

He explained solutions pharmacies have found to overcome the shortage.

“The shortage started at first for amoxicillin syrup. The pharmacies tried to find solutions by replacing it with amoxicillin tablets for adults — which can be given to children when cut in half. As a result, we have neither amoxicillin syrup nor amoxicillin tablets,” he said.

Cherraben said doctors were told to prescribe other antibiotics, thus there are no antibiotics left — amoxicillin nor other types.

The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products, ANSM, confirmed last week the existence of a supply issue regarding antibiotics prescribed mostly to children.

The Health Ministry said on Dec. 14 at a news conference that shortages of antibiotics and paracetamol for children will persist for a couple of weeks and urged the country to have patience.

ANSM announced measures to respond to the shortage, including the diversification of import sources.

The shortage does not only affect pediatric medicines. In 2022, almost 3,000 medicines are subject to supply issues, according to ANSM.

Health Minister Francois Braun warned Wednesday against a “week of danger,” explaining that the spread of the flu provokes “an explosion of cases,” some ending in resuscitation units, while hospitals lack a sufficient number of beds.

France is not the only country suffering from supply issues. Germany and UK are facing similar struggles.

China decided to increase its production and reduce the exportation of medicines while increasing its importation — which may worsen the situation in France and Europe.

Remi Salomon, president of the Conference of Presidents of Medical Establishment Commissions of University Hospitals in France wrote on Twitter: “The current COVID wave in China will likely worsen our supply issues for many medicines.”

Salomon underlined the need to “relocate production in France” to avoid shortages and health disasters in the future.

In March, the founders of the Observatory of Transparency in Medicines Policy, Pauline Londeix, and Jerome Martin, wrote an article for the Le Monde newspaper where they called for the need to produce medicines in France.

“For the production of pharmaceutical raw materials, France and the entire planet depend on active ingredients produced in South and East Asia,” they wrote, raising once more “the vital question of pharmaceutical products in Europe.”

Londeix and Martin also cited the war in Ukraine and called for a “partially public production” in France and in Europe to reduce dependence on multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Source: Anadolu Agency

14 killed, 29 injured in Nigeria bikers’ carnival tragedy: Official

Fourteen spectators have been killed and 29 injured after a car rammed into a crowd of onlookers at a bikers’ parade firing a carnival in Nigeria’s southern port city of Calabar, an official said.

Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Maikano Hassan, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday the car lost control while driving on the parade ground.

“The incident happened when a Toyota Camry car lost control and rammed into a crowd of onlookers,” he said.

In a statement earlier, he said the bodies of the deceased have been evacuated from the scene.

Governor of Cross Rivers State, Ben Ayade, on Wednesday expressed regret at the carnival tragedy, describing the incident as the first since the start of the annual event about two decades ago.

“This is the first time we have had an incident of this nature and I can assure you that it won’t happen again. With all sense of grief, with all sense of melancholy, we submit to the will of God,” the governor said during his visit to the injured victims at the Navy Reference Hospital, Calabar.

He assured more security barricades will be erected at the carnival ground to prevent occurrence of accident during the annual event.

Calabar is the capital of Cross Rovers State.

A Lagos-based TV producer, Nelson Etah blamed the government for failure to erect stronger barricade and put appropriate measure at the event ground.

The Calabar carnival, an annual event with a series of social and spotting activities, usually is held throughout December.

Source: Anadolu Agency

China sees big jump in COVID-19 cases

China on Thursday reported a big jump in COVID-19 cases, registering 1,185 infections, most of which were locally transmitted.

National Health Commission (NHC) of China said in a statement that the Chinese mainland recorded 1,185 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

It added that 1,133 were local transmissions while 52 were recorded among those who came to China from overseas.

Over 1,000 cases in a day is a big jump in recent past in China which has adopted a strict lockdown strategy to stem the threat of the infection.

The statement also revealed 7,820 asymptomatic cases were registered the same day as around 52,411 asymptomatic patients are undergoing medical observation across the country.

With 1,185 fresh cases, the NHC data showed the total COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China since December 2019 climbed to 267,544.

The country has recorded 5,226 deaths due to the infection in the same period.

Source: Anadolu Agency

1 policeman killed, 6 injured in suicide blast in Pakistan’s capital

At least one policeman was killed and six others injured in a suicide blast in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad on Friday, police said.

The Islamabad police tweeted they were conducting snap-checking when they signaled a suspicious vehicle to stop.

When the policemen reached the vehicle, the suspected bombers blew the explosive-laden vehicle up, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters.

Both suspected bombers, including a woman, he added, were also killed in the bombing, which was aimed at a “high-value” target in Islamabad.

Dr. Khalid Mehsud, the director of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, told reporters that two bodies and 10 injured were brought to the hospital.

The police said the explosion was caused by some explosive material placed inside the vehicle.

Islamabad has been under security alert for the last several days, following the taking over of a counter-terrorism facility in the northwestern Bannu district this week.

Security forces took control of the Parliament House earlier this week amid a security threat.

Footage aired on Geo News showed the taxi lying overturned in the middle of a road with plumes of fire wafting upwards.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

Source: Anadolu Agency