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Editorial: Afghanistan’s COVID-19 Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is spiraling out of control with daily new infections and deaths are on the rise. Only on Sunday 1,927 cases and 93 deaths were reported. Unfortunately, the hospitals are filling up and medical resources are quickly running out. It’s the most important time for the Afghan people to understand and take the virus seriously. We are at a crisis point in the battle to contain COVID-19 pandemic. The third wave of the virus is apparently very deadly and already puts intense strain on a country where millions already live under the poverty line and also the health resources are scarce. It would be catastrophic unless the Afghans start using their brain and remain cooperative with each other to fight these hard days. We are the most vulnerable country compared to other regional countries that already went or under immense pressure due to coronavirus. For instance India – it is a developed country with a modern health care system, but it failed terribly to deal with the coronavirus. The cases surged because the people did not take the virus seriously. It can’t be worse for India and all the responsibility is utterly on the shoulder of its citizens who turned a blind eye over the threat posed by the virus. The Afghans are in the same situation. There should be no room for us to repeat the same mistake the Indian did. Since Afghanistan is facing a fragile health system that has been damaged by decades of war, the Afghans must pay due attention not to get affected with the virus. Moreover, lack of vaccine access and hesitancy could also exacerbate the situation. Indeed, international support is needed to help win this race against this virus, but nothing could save the Afghans but themselves. We need to follow simple guidelines to defeat the virus – observing social distancing, using masks, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travels, washing and sanitizing hands. Without doubt, Afghanistan is in its critical situation – at one hand violence has been unprecedentedly high as the foreign troops head for the exit after nearly 20 years of presence and on the other side is the third wave of COVID-19 that threatens the country to another level. Despite all the uncertainty, one thing which makes us happy is that the more than 70 percent of an estimated 37 million Afghans are under the age of 30 – we are a young nation and defiantly overcome all the challenges, including the current imposed war and the deadly virus.

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