8 Subh, Kabul: The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed the outbreak of the second wave of coronavirus in the country. The head of the Ministry of Public Health said that as Afghanistan has entered the second phase of the coronavirus outbreak, the cabinet has decided to close wedding hotels until the end of December this year. Although cities are not going to be completely quarantined, it has been decided to impose some restrictions on sightseeing.
Acting Minister of Public Health Ahmad Jawad Osmani told a news conference on Wednesday, November 18, that observations from all over the country showed that the number of “total” cases had increased at least tenfold, the number of patients in public and private hospitals by five times, while confirmed coronavirus cases had trebled.
Osmani said that the findings of the rapid and mobile teams that were circulating in the neighborhoods also showed that the incidence of coronavirus and those with “coronavirus symptoms” has increased.
The Head of the Ministry of Public Health said that the studies conducted and the situation of the coronavirus outbreak in the country in recent weeks show that Afghanistan is on the verge of “entering the second coronavirus wave.” Ahmad Jawad Osmani said that neighboring countries, including Iran and Pakistan, as well as European countries, had already entered the second phase of the coronavirus outbreak.
The acting Minister of Public Health cited cold weather, seasonal flu outbreaks and air pollution as factors in the onset of the second wave in Afghanistan. He stated that, “People are more likely to get the coronavirus again, so everyone should be alert.”
Osmani said that on the verge of the second wave of coronavirus in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health was urging people to wear masks. He urged people to wear masks outside the home, as wearing a mask prevents coronavirus infection. The Head of the Ministry of Public Health also urged people not to go to crowded neighborhoods and not to leave their homes unless they had necessary work. He also called on people vulnerable to the virus to avoid leaving home. Hand washing was another measure recommended by the Ministry of Public Health
Ahmad Jawad Osmani said that due to the second coronavirus wave, the cabinet had decided that wedding hotels would be closed until the end of December. The cabinet, the municipality and the Ministry of Public Health are working to implement the decision.
He said that given the situation in Afghanistan, full quarantine would not benefit the country’s economy, but some restrictions would be imposed. Osmani also said that emergency committees to combat coronavirus, headed by governors, would resume their meetings to fight the second wave of coronavirus.
Ahmad Jawad Osmani said that vitamins C and D are effective in preventing and dealing with Covid-19, and that people should use it. The head of the Ministry of Public Health said that people with coronavirus-like symptoms should stay at home for 14 days to prevent others from getting infected. According to him, if these people have symptoms such as shortness of breath, they should go to hospitals.
Osmani said that due to the spread of the coronavirus in neighboring countries, Afghan citizens should refrain from traveling to these countries unnecessarily. He said that a program has been prepared to fight the second wave of coronavirus and resources to fund this plan have been found in 34 provinces.
The acting Minister of Public Health, on the other hand, said that at least two vaccines have entered the market, and in cooperation with the World Vaccine Coalition, Afghanistan is one of 92 countries that the vaccine would be provided to.
According to Osmani, the vaccine will be widely available by mid-2021, and by the end of that year, 20% of Afghanistan’s population would be vaccinated.
“Afghanistan is nine months away from getting access to the coronavirus vaccine, so people need to prevent the spread and infection of the coronavirus,” Osmani said.
The head of the Ministry of Public Health also called on health workers to use personal protective equipment (PPE) and to be ready to serve the people. In the end, he promised that he would thoroughly manage the second wave of the coronavirus.
More than 43,000 people in the country are currently infected with the coronavirus. Among them, more than 1,600 of them have died.