COVID-19 Delta Variant Outbreak; No Serious Precautionary Measures in Place

The Ministry of Public Health announced the outbreak of Delta variant or the Indian type of coronavirus in the country. Ministry officials emphasize that due to the spread of the Delta variant, the number of positive cases in the country has increased and is still on the rise. Officials at the Ministry of Public Health state that all hospital beds are currently full due to the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, and that the ministry intends to increase the number of beds and health personnel to provide services. The officials added that despite the critical situation in the country and the rising death toll from the virus, people remain reckless and do not comply with prevention efforts. According to these officials, although the ministry has banned wedding halls, hotels and swimming pools, these establishments operate covertly from government agencies. These officials are concerned about the continuation of this situation and call on the relevant institutions to implement the law seriously.

On the other hand, with the outbreak of the Delta variant, the Ministry of Public Health is working on a plan to reopen private schools and universities. These officials emphasize that due to the great pressure from the union of private schools and universities, they are working on a plan to re-operate them. He added that although the spread of the virus has slowed down, the number of positive cases is still on the rise. He attributed the increase in positive cases of coronavirus to the carelessness of the people. According to the latest statistics, 1,095 people were infected with coronavirus yesterday and 56 people died due it.

However, Waheed Majroh, the acting Minister of Public Health stated that according to the ministry’s analysis, the spread of coronavirus in Kabul, Logar, Kandahar, Kunduz, Nuristan, Paktia, Helmand, Baghlan, Panjshir, Laghman, Badghis and Sar-e-Pul provinces is horizontal. And in Bamyan, Jawzjan, Takhar, Farah, Paktika, Khost, Badakhshan, Parwan, Nangarhar, Zabul, Daikundi, Nimroz, Ghor, Ghazni, Kapisa, Balkh, Samangan and Kunar provinces the number of cases is increasing. He also stressed that the highest usage of hospital beds is in Kabul, Logar, Daikundi, Jawzjan, Helmand, Laghman, Takhar, Badakhshan, Maidan Wardak, Faryab, Ghazni, Bamyan, Zabul, Herat, Khost, Sar-e-Pul and Baghlan provinces. According to Majroh in these provinces, 100% of the beds are full. Similarly, he announced that Balkh, Nangarhar, Panjshir, Ghor, Kapisa, Kandahar, Badghis, Parwan, Paktia, Nimroz, Paktika and Kunar provinces are next in line. According to him, 95-98% of the beds in these provinces are occupied. Majroh also added that bed usage was low in Samangan, Farah, Kunduz, Nuristan and Uruzgan provinces. In these provinces, the rate of in-patients is 25-50 percent. However, he noted that despite the fact that the spread of the coronavirus in some provinces is horizontal, at the national level, the number of cases and patients has increased. He stressed that the beds of all the hospitals are full at the moment and the ministry intends to increase the number of beds to provide services.

COVID-19 Delta Variant Outbreak

Meanwhile, the Acting Minister of Public Health announced the detection of a new type of coronavirus in the country. Waheed Majroh said that the ministry’s specialists were able to detect the spread of the Indian delta-type coronavirus with their kits. This is the third type of coronavirus to spread in the country. Earlier, officials from the Ministry of Public Health reported the outbreak of the English-type or mutated coronavirus. According to the Ministry of Public Health, the virus has spread from the east of the country and then spread to other provinces. However, Mr. Majroh added that two days ago, 19 suspicious cases were tested in the central laboratories of the ministry, of which eight were identified as English and another 11 as Indian-type or “Delta”. He stated that this shows the wide spread of the Delta variant. He added that one of the main reasons for the increase in positive cases and the deterioration of the situation is the prevalence of Delta variant.

Health experts believe that the spread of the Delta variant is much faster than the normal mutated type. Dr. Mohammad Nawroz Haqmal, a professor at the University of London in the UK and a health expert, told 8 Subh that most people are now infected with the Delta variant. According to him, the speed of this variant and the rate of death are higher than the first two variants. Haqmal said viruses of the first type and the mutant type were more threatening to the elderly, but that this variant was threatening to all age groups. According to him, mortality attributed to the Delta variant has also been seen among young people. In addition, the vaccine is less effective to this variant. The symptoms of Delta variant are also different from those of other mutated types of coronaviruses. Haqmal said that people with this strain often complain of cough, headache, dry throat, runny nose and fever, and in some cases chest pain. According to him, those who have been infected with this virus experience loss of appetite and bad breath or smell in their mouth and nose.

Possibility of Reopening Private Schools and Universities

On the other hand, Waheed Majroh, the Acting Health Minister, pointed out that despite the increase in covid cases, people are not following health measures. According to him, some hotels, wedding halls and swimming pools are now open and operate secretly from government institutions. He criticized the continuation of the situation and called on the security agencies to implement the law seriously. According to him, the negligence of the people has led to an increase in the number of patients referred to hospitals. Majroh stressed that all the hospital beds are now full of patients. On the other hand, he added that at the moment, the ministry is facing a lack of oxygen resources and that efforts are also underway to provide the required oxygen.

At the same time, Mr. Majroh mentioned the pressure from the union of private schools and universities. The Acting Minister added that the effects of the restrictions on the activities of some establishments are palpable. However, he stressed that the restrictions have slowed down the spread of the virus to some extent. Majroh stated that although the restrictions were not properly implemented, its positive effects in controlling the virus are still evident.

Waheed Majroh stated that the Ministry of Public Health now has to finalize a plan to determine the fate of private schools and universities. According to him, to do this, a national committee has been formed with the participation of the Union of Private Schools and Universities and is working on a comprehensive plan. He expressed hope that the committee would be able to prepare a suitable plan for the reopening of schools and universities while maintaining proper health measures. He said, however, that he did not expect much care to be taken with the reopening of schools and universities.

On the other hand, the head of the Ministry of Public Health stated that three million doses of US-made “Johnson & Johnson” vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan by July 10. As soon as the vaccine is available, he says, in addition to vaccinating people over the age of 40, health personnel, school and university administrators, the families of first- to third-grade students will also be vaccinated. He said that after the vaccination of this categories, the decision will be taken to reopen schools and universities.

It is worth mentioning that the first positive case of coronavirus was registered on February 24, 2020. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly and so far more than 114,000 people have been infected with the virus. Of these, more than 4,600 have died and more than 67,000 have recovered.