As the omicron variant is spreading fast across the world and some neighboring countries, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has been asked to provide the omicron’s testing kits for Afghanistan.
Reports stated that the omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in Iran and Pakistan, both of which share borders with Afghanistan.
The spokesperson for the MoPH, Javed Hazher, confirmed that Afghanistan lacks omicron testing kits. “The omicron is not distinguishable by the PCR machines that we have now, it requires more developed machinery. We have contacted the WHO and they have promised to provide these machines for us by the end of January 2022,” he said.
Officials at the Afghan-Japan hospital, one of the COVID-19 treatment centers in Kabul, expressed deep concern over lack of medical supplies at the hospital.
“There are many problems in the hospital: medicine, oxygen and medical equipment are not sufficiently stocked. Our staff has not been paid for several months,” said Zalmai Reshteen, director of the Afghan-Japan Hospital.
Meanwhile, health workers say that fighting against COVID-19 should not be ignored as Afghanistan is struggling with waves of economic and political challenges, saying that neglecting COVID-19 will cause many people to be infected with the omicron variant.
“The economy and political problems caused COVID-19 to be ignored and not taken seriously. A crisis will happen if we do not face the lastest wave of the coronavirus, which is omicron,” said Ahmad Jawad Fardeen, a doctor.
Based on official reports, around 160,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Afghanistan and more that 7,300 Afghans died of the disease.