COVID-19: ‘People Have to Choose Daily Curfew or Collective Deaths’ Says Saleh

On Tuesday evening, Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president, said Afghans now have to choose between the daily curfews to restrict the spread of Coronavirus or mass deaths after getting infected.

In a video message, Saleh said both official and unofficial figures show the country is now approaching the peak of Coronavirus infections.

A peak denotes the greatest number of new cases. It’s not necessarily a single day peak. The numbers need to flatten out and decline for at least a week to see the trend.

He stressed that experts have repeatedly warned that Afghanistan will face a widespread and devastating outbreak and it would continue over the next two months. People will have to continue to distance themselves and follow other preventive measures if conditions become more severe.

The first vice president called on the people to maintain social distancing in public places and refrain from unnecessarily large groups.

Afghanistan is preparing to “defeat” Coronavirus within this year, said Saleh. Beyond that, they expect things to return to normal.

He added that the government has divided the Coronavirus crisis into five stages. The first is the recognition of the Coronavirus and the second is to check its spread at the community level. The third is the “peak of misery and crisis” when the most people will be infected. The fourth stage is to reduce the prevalence of Coronavirus and the fifth stage is to return to normal.

Coronavirus has risen by 658% in Afghanistan in the last month, said an aid organisation. More than 16,500 people have been infected to date, according to the Ministry of Public Health. The lockdown has also hurt the economy and people’s livelihoods.

Saleh said the government would be starting aid distribution within two weeks. The aid package would include the distribution of money, work and food packages.

The Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that Russia has donated 5,000 Coronavirus diagnostic tests to the Afghan government. Iran also sent over 11 tons of medical equipment this week.

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