According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 is spreading faster than the Delta variant. Omicron has been reported to infect even those who have been vaccinated. Given the pressure that different strains of the coronavirus have put on the world’s health systems over the past two years, many countries, in addition to continuing the vaccination process, have taken serious precautions to prevent the spread of the omicron variant. Vaccination continues in even the poorest countries. Therefore, governments are trying to vaccinate the elderly and others at risk – while their health systems are ready to contain the fourth or fifth wave of the coronavirus.
However, the situation in Afghanistan is very complicated. Since August 15, many sectors, including the country’s health system, have been severely damaged. During this period, the Taliban, as the ruling group, not only ignored the threats and the spread of the Coronavirus but also believed that the Covid-19 had completely disappeared from Afghan society after coming to power. Taliban officials believe that people can make a living through prayer and get rid of the coronavirus and other pests. In a televised message in response to extreme poverty and hunger, their caretaker Prime Minister called on the people to ask God for bread.
Unfortunately, the situation is not promising at all. Economic and health systems are collapsing completely. There is no security and, people are struggling with poverty and hunger unprecedented in history. In such a situation, the outbreak of the Covid-19’s Omicron variant will turn Afghanistan into hell on earth. There is no medicine in hospitals. Many doctors have resigned due to non-payment of salaries to health workers, and hospitals’ personnel have no bread to eat. These days, hospitals are empty of medicine and doctors. With this condition, patients who require intensive care will be at serious risk of death whenever the new wave of the Coronavirus spread.
The fact is that for months now, a large percentage of Afghans have not had enough food to eat. Millions of people in the country are already starving and suffering from malnutrition. Therefore, the immune system of the Afghan people is weak due to poor nutrition. In such a situation, the risk of a rapid outbreak and high mortality of the Coronavirus is more dangerous than ever. Whenever the Omicron variant of the virus spreads, Afghan adults, youth, and children will be among the vulnerable. It is unlikely that the new wave of the Coronavirus will be the deadliest in Afghanistan, given the catastrophic situation described.
Therefore, the Taliban government must consider the Covid-19 threat in Afghanistan as their priority. Provision of medicine, payment of salaries to health workers, and care for the country’s hospitals are measures that must be taken soon. Another measure can be the resumption of the vaccination process in Afghanistan. The Covid-19 vaccines should be provided to people without delay, with the help of the World Health Organization and other aid groups. Otherwise, the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Afghanistan will be catastrophic.
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Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily