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More than 1,130,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus diseases worldwide, as death toll surpassed 60,000 while about more than 234,000 patients are recovered.
Afghans are hit by the coronavirus pandemic at a worse time, where they are also faced with the war, unemployment, poverty, political issues, in the September 2019 presidential election, Dr. Ashraf Ghani was announced the winner and the elected president of Afghanistan by the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, on the other hand, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah the former CEO and the presidential election candidate didn’t accept the decision and proclaimed himself as the president and have both held separate inauguration ceremonies, in the capital Kabul.
In March 2020, Mike Pompeo the U.S Secretary of State made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan as part of a bid to broker a deal between the Afghan leaders. Pompeo’s intervention failed. He then left the country and announced the reduction of $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan this year, which can have a negative impact on the economy and the people of Afghanistan, in this fragile time especially on the health care system.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that around 2.4 million Afghans are in Iran. After the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, more than 140,000 Afghan returned to Afghanistan, leaving behind their everything in Iran, knowing they will never receive treatment in Iran if they became infected, and later on, there were some reports that Iranian hospitals rejected the Afghans infected by coronavirus. According to IOM, roughly 1,000 Afghan migrants per day and using the countries’ two major border crossings with Iran, Herat, and Nimruz Provinces to return home between January and March.
On the other hand, with unemployment and poverty in Afghanistan at a higher rate and the returns on such a scale would put tens of thousands of families under financial stress, the returnees also threaten Afghanistan’s fragile health care system.
If serious actions are not taken to prepare, the Afghan Public Health Ministry estimates that 80 % population of Afghanistan will be infected and 110,000 Afghans will die from COVID-19, till now 299 people are infected by the coronavirus in Afghanistan.
The developed countries such as Spain, Italy, China the epicenter of the Covid19, Germany, U.K and with most cases in the U.S crossing more than 270,000 and other countries in the world with the most advanced health care system, the Covid19 has overtaken them, and have caused overfull hospitals, shortage of beds, un-employment, economic crisis, the hospitals ran out of ventilators, lack of health workers. Many countries in the world have turned football stadiums into a pop-up hospital, trains have been converted into isolation wards, tent hospitals in New York City and have prepared other places for the upcoming coronavirus patients.
Therefore, Afghanistan should focus more on Covid19. As the Covid19 has overtaken the developed countries with the most advanced health care system, how it can’t overtake us? Till now 299 cases of Covid19 have been registered in Afghanistan. These cases will not stop but will grow more and more if serious actions are not taken by the government and the people as it is not a one-way process but the people should also cooperate. The government should bring its focus on building hospitals or to turn the current football and cricket stadiums and other places into hospital in each province for the upcoming covid19 patients, increase the number of testing laboratories and the most important is the public awareness among the people so they understand the dangers of the Covid19 and how to protect themselves from it.