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Spiraling outbreak in covid-19 tedious

Preserve social distancing—avoid handshakes, hugs, and other social gathering as pandemic coronavirus cases jumped to 34 with one fatality

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Afghan health authorities have suggested more protective measures to prevent the spread of pandemic covid-19 as the number of spiraling coronavirus have jumped to 34 with one dead.

A man, 40-year-old in northern Balkh province has died of Covid-19, Public Health Minister confirmed on Sunday.

In a press briefing, Public Health Minister Ferozudding Feroz said Sunday that out of 97 cases tested in the past 24 hours, 10 were positive, pushing the total number to 34 so far.

All the cases have returned recently from abroad, particularly from Iran—the neighboring country and source of virus outbreak in Afghanistan.

Iran is one of the hardest-hit countries worldwide by the virus, with an official death toll only behind Italy and China. On Saturday, the health ministry’s latest tally said the death toll had risen by more than 100 to 1,556, while the number of infected people stood at 20,610. A total of 7,635 people have recovered in Iran.

Afghan Health Minister, Feroz said three new cases recorded in Herat, two in Zabul, one in Kandahar, one in Balkh, one in Ghazni and two, which are foreign diplomats, in Kabul.

The infected diplomats have been put in isolated ward away from society, the minister said. “These two diplomats have recently traveled to the countries infected by the coronavirus outbreak.   

Moreover, he talked about two other suspected cases reported among parliament members, which will be tested today (Monday).

The infected persons are under care in a well-equipped health center and have no contacts with the society, he mentioned.

Other suspected samples from Helmand, Farah, Kandahar and Kunduz provinces are in laboratory for test.

Cases, particularly under control of the Taliban is necessary requires support from the group. Health Minister Feroz has called on the Taliban to be cooperative with the ministry because fighting coronavirus requires everybody’s cooperation and support.

He asked Kabul, and Herat residents to avoid attending gatherings. “People over 60 years old are obliged to stay at home, especially those suffering from chronic disease.”

Besides shuttering of parks, hotels, restaurants, the public transpiration should have also been limited, the minister suggested.

As spiraling covid-19 is spreading with more fears of its outbreak, Mr. Feroz called on the government to announce quarantine in Herat province. He also warned about the risk of the virus, which is very serious, he called on residents to completely follow Public Health Ministry’s instructions.

Washing hands with soap multiple times a day, and taking vitamins C and D is more helpful, the Minister said, adding attention also paid to the prisoner’s health.

We must stay vigilant and serious about the virus despite all the infected people came from abroad, especially from Iran, he added.

According to him, currently diagnostic kits are available for 50,000 people and have the ability to test 50 cases on daily basis. “We are making all out efforts to increase testing laboratories in Kabul, Nangarhar and Balkh provinces.”

MoPH has focused over all Afghanistan—100 bed hospitals established in Kabul—100 beds in Nangarhar—100 in Kandahar—200 beds in Balkh provinces. Also 30 bed isolated ward in Nimroz and 30 bed Isolated ward in Farah provinces.

Around five weeks ago, MoPH declared the first coronavirus case in western Herat province. The infected person had recently returned from Qum city of Iran.

Moreover, the Afghan government shuttered schools, banned public events amid coronavirus fears.

The Afghan government asked people to avoid attending gatherings, including wedding and engagement parties that probably trigger the risk of coronavirus outbreak.

Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission had asked civil servants aged 58-65 to work from home for three weeks as a precaution against coronavirus. Female employees who are pregnant have also asked to work from home for two weeks.

Similarly, those employees who have recently returned from countries where coronavirus has spread were ordered to use their annual leave for two weeks.

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