The Ministry of Public Health on Saturday announced that schools and universities in 16 provinces, including Kabul will remain closed for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The ministry said that government and private schools, universities and training centers will remain closed in Kabul, Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Logar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Parwan, Maidan Wardak, Panjshir, Balkh, Laghman, Badakhshan, Kapisa, Kunduz and Nimroz.
The decision comes as Afghanistan registering increasing number of COVID-19 comparing to the first and second waves. The Ministry of Public Health on Saturday reported 654 new positive cases of COVID-19 out of 2,871 samples tested in the last 24 hours. The ministry also reported 20 deaths and 162 recoveries from COVID-19 in the same period.
Despite security worries and Taliban’s continued violence in the country, the third wave of COVID-19 have also raised concerns in Afghanistan. As the statistics continue to rise, the officials at the Ministry of Public Health express concerns about the possibility of a “catastrophe and crisis” during the third wave of the Corona-virus outbreak in the country.
The main issue which widely has added to the concerns is non-observance of health advises such as not keeping social distance, not wearing masks, no prevention from social gatherings and so on. Meanwhile despite of repeated calls on wedding halls, they are yet to suspend their ceremonies.
According to officials at the Ministry of Public Health, the public cooperation in preventing public crowdness and maintaining health advises are the only way to reduce and control the spread of COVID-19 during this round, but most of the social experts believe that the people would not listen to these advises without any compulsory measures.
Although going to quarantine is not feasible in the current economic condition of the country, the government can issue certain regulatory measures to prevent from the possible crisis in the coming weeks and months, as they have taken with closing the education centers and warning the wedding halls.
Besides following the preventive measures, vaccination is also considered vital in containing the virus, but the lack of enough vaccine in the country is the major issue too. It has been said that more than 55 thousand of people, including health workers, teachers, journalists, public servants, elders, prisoners, and so on have been vaccinated and China has pledged to hand over 700,000 dozes of the vaccine to Afghansitan in the coming days.
Till implementation of vaccine to all eligible citizens, the first and most important way to deal the virus is preventive measures. The experience such as in China also shows that preventive measure is the easiest and costless way to deal with the disease. In preventive measures, the media awareness and also individuals’ strategies can play the most important role like adhering to hygienic principles.
The country’s media and Ulema can play their constructive role in delivering true and on time information about the disease to the people. Without people, media and religious scholars’ support, the drive to contain the virus could not be successful. Meanwhile the country’s people should do more to follow the health tips and avoid gatherings.