Residents in Afghanistan’s capital on Friday strongly criticized the Afghan government over what they described as a lack of concentration in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, saying fighting the deadly virus is no longer a priority for the government.
The people spoken to by TOLOnews said that despite claims by the government to put the city into lockdown to curb the further spread of the disease, the traffic on the roads flows normally and no strict measures have been put in place or implemented to slow down the movement and curb the infection.
“Two months ago, the Afghan government was convening ten to 15 high level meetings daily. The president was also participating in some of those meetings. But now that the virus has risen significantly and it is moving door to doors in major cities of Afghanistan, we see that over the past fifteen days the Afghan government is totally silent,” said Wahid Paiman, a former member of the coronavirus task force for Herat.
“The government has the responsibility to prevent this (virus), because there will be a tragedy if actions are not taken,” said Abdullah Sherzai, a resident in Kabul.
“The government can't leave everyone on their own,” said Rukhsar, a resident in Kabul.
“The government should quarantine the city, but it should pay the expenses of the people. Where has the aid gone provided by the international community?” said Agha Jan, a resident in Kabul.
However, the Afghan government has defended its measures and said that fighting the pandemic was still the government’s topmost priority.
“Fighting the coronavirus is a core part of the work of the president of Afghanistan. The virus has left a negative impact on Afghanistan’s economy and other major programs that are being implemented,” said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman to Ashraf Ghani.
The government’s social media platform seems to indicate that from May 26 on there was not the same activity with the government’s COVID-19 meetings as there was in the first weeks of the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
This comes after the Ministry of Public Health persistently said that the government was taking COVID-19 seriously.
Latest COVID-19 figures in Afghanistan:
The Ministry of Public Health on Friday reported 623 new positive cases of COVID-19--out of 985 samples tested--in the last 24 hours. The total known number of cases in Afghanistan is 13,659.
The ministry reported eleven COVID-19 deaths (7 in Herat, 2 in Khost, 1 in Kabul and 1 in Balkh) over the last 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 246.
Also, 50 COVID-19 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry, bringing the total recovered cases to 1,259.
The total active cases are 12,156, and, so far, 35,921 samples have been tested, according to data from the ministry.
The highest number of cases was reported in Kabul with 271, followed by Herat (179 cases), Nangarhar (67), Balkh (23), Khost (18), Laghman (13), Parwan (10), Badakhshan (10), Paktika (9), Bamiyan (9), Paktia (7), Logar (3), Takhar (2), Kunar (1), and Daikundi (1).
Recoveries were reported in Kabul (15), Paktika (21), Herat (5), Farah (5), Khost (3), and Nuristan (1).