Panic as virus threatens Pakistan and Afghanistan

Islamabad: Afghanistan and Pakistan face a potentially devastating health crisis after Covid-19 erupted in neighbouring Iran.

Experts fear that measures taken so far could prove ineffective with thousands of people – refugees fleeing violence, Syiah pilgrims, smugglers and migrants looking for work – likely crossing the long, poorly patrolled frontiers every day.

Pakistan reported its first two cases of the virus on Wednesday, while Afghanistan announced its first case earlier on Monday.

“We are worried, we don’t have a proper functioning health system and the borders are open. All we can do is take preventive measures and pray to God,” said Ihsanul Haq, a government employee.

A largely illiterate population also makes it hard to educate them on ways to stop the transmission.

Pakistan has a history of failing to contain infectious diseases such as polio, tuberculosis and hepatitis.

Scandals involving the use of dirty needles in healthcare settings have also eroded public trust in the system. — AFP
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Covid-19 , coronavirus , Afghanistan


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