The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the coronavirus has now reached the status of a global epidemic--or pandemic--but how seriously is it being taken by the Afghan government and its citizens?
President Ghani chaired the National Security Council meeting Wednesday night and discussed how to prevent and fight the coronavirus.
The National Security Council office says the meeting emphasized that serious measures should be taken to combat the virus and that new year celebrations will not be held.
"The Security Council yesterday held a meeting under the leadership of the president and decided to take serious measures to combat the virus, and to take serious measures for the public health of the entire country--especially on the Iranian border,” said Jawed Fisal, the NSA spokesman.
A commemoration of Abdul Ali Mazari was due to take place on Thursday in the Presidential Palace and preparations had been made; however, the second vice-president announced last night that the program would not be held due to the spread of the coronavirus, and instead Ghani made his remarks in a video message on the occasion.
The Afghan Ministry of Health said there have been 165 suspected coronavirus cases in Afghanistan so far, and seven of them have been identified as positive.
At the same time, Pakistan has identified two positive coronavirus cases on the Torkham border. Some Pakistani media have reported that one Afghan citizen with coronavirus was returned from Torkham to Afghanistan during the investigation, and the second was an employee of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul who was also identified when he wanted to enter Pakistan through Torkham port.
The Pakistani embassy has stopped issuing visas in Kabul for a limited time.
Afghanistan is very vulnerable because of the coronavirus, as thousands of Afghans are fleeing Iran to Afghanistan every day for fear of coronavirus.
Coronavirus, which first spread in China three months ago, has now spread to more than 100 countries, including Iran, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
However, it seems that in Afghanistan the coronavirus is not being taken seriously.
“After all a virus is a virus; we cannot say that it is a Muslim, or if it is an infidel,” said Lotfullah Satari, a resident of Kabul.
“Not much public awareness has been provided to the people,” said Sayed Reyaz Hashimi, another resident of Kabul.
The Ministry of Health says efforts are underway to provide facilities to fight the virus, but the people of the country must also take the the virus seriously and adhere to health guidelines.