KABUL: Afghanistan has over 1000 confirmed cases of covid-19 amid fragile health system, underlying the need for a joint work together to bend the curve, flatten it and move into the next step of normalization. Afghan officials are grappling with the spread of the disease and its economic ramifications for the impoverished nation even in the face of a chaotic political situation, and ongoing war that the Afghan security forces engaged to fend off Taliban onslaughts with casualties on the both sides. The virus, which is a troubling omen, also reached the presidential palace forcing President Ashraf Ghani and the First Lady to test for coronavirus.
“Covid-19 tests were conducted for the President and the First Lady on their own request. Both results are negative. The president is healthy and is leading government efforts on all fronts. All precautions are in place to make sure his work environment is safe and healthy,” Ghani’s Spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi said on Tuesday. Some reports suggest over 40 palace workers tested positive, and being quarantined. Sediqqi confirmed only 20 cases.
66 new positive cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, Spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health Wahidullah Mayar told newsmen. Out of 311 suspected samples, 66 were positive, bringing the tally to 1,092 across Afghanistan as of Tuesday.
52 cases were in Kabul, five in Laghman, four in Nangarhar, four in Baghlan and one in Paktia provinces, an alarming signal for the country that has more vulnerability, including poverty and unabated violence.
The capital city, with population of over six million, had 52 cases in 24 hours, a significant rise with more fears ahead. Health Minister has warned upcoming two weeks as the most dangerous, calling on the residents to take health advice seriously.
“We are having 15 recovery cases, 12 from Kabul,” Mr. Mayar, said. Since the outbreak of the virus, 36 people have died so far, and luckily no dead reported in the past 24 hours, the spokesman said. The totally recovery is up to 150.
Kabul and other major cities are under lockdown and the Afghan officials wrestling with the disease, including process of disinfection of the cities. But poverty forcing the Afghans to took out to the streets to find meal for their family members. “The threat posing by the virus is very much understandable, but I have to take bread home. Hunger will kill us before virus,” Abdullah, a pedestrian mask seller in Kabul said. I won’t approach customer, if the government help me with essential food items for at least one month, he said.
The number of people facing acute food insecurity could nearly double this year to 265 million due to the economic fallout of COVID-19, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.
The impact of lost tourism revenues, falling remittances and travel and other restrictions linked to the coronavirus pandemic are expected to leave some 130 million people acutely hungry this year, adding to around 135 million already in that category.
The pandemic has so far killed thousands of people and contracted over 2 million others across the world.