Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Coronavirus: A Tiny Creature that challenged the world

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Coronavirus: A Tiny Creature that  challenged the world

The Coronavirus, designated 2019-nCoV, is the newest and deadliest pest of the time that challenged the world equipped with modern technologies. In fact, it has not only challenged the world but also showed the vulnerability of world against natural disasters. Since the emergence of the tiny creature, which is called Coronavirus, many cities have been quarantined; the world trade and economy stagnated, dozens of flights stopped and panic shortly swept around the world. The World Health Organization declared a state of emergency after the numbers of death toll has steadily increased. According to media reports, the death toll has risen to nearly 300 and number of infected people has risen to nearly 14,000. Nevertheless, these figures are considered as preliminary statistics and may still be rising. According to methodological estimates the number of people infected with the virus may be much higher than the current figures as the numbers of deaths, affected people and countries are steadily increasing while there is no certain treatment to kill the virus. Now, the virus is widespread across multiple countries beyond China, from Thailand to Australia to France which overall becomes more than 20 countries. Therefore, the ultimate outcome of the outbreak will be determined in the future.
In Afghanistan, no cases of coronavirus have been officially registered but this is not a good reason not to worry. From one hand, the today’s world is so interconnected and on the other hand Afghanistan is among the poorest countries in term of having weak health system. Moreover, the public health awareness is extremely low in the country; therefore, Afghanistan is extremely vulnerable against the corona-virus. If the virus reaches Afghanistan, it will be difficult to prevent its spreading and will threaten the life of 35 million people in the country. In fact, no one is sure of the health system capability to identify and cope with the virus. However, the government proceedings were appreciable in the recent days. The Ministry of Health has sent several teams to the airports to control the suspected travelers showing its farther readiness to take necessary health measures against the issue.
The government has also held coordination meetings on the fate of Afghan students and citizens in China. The country’s aviation authority has also suspended the Afghanistan-China flight. But these actions will not be enough we need to make sure no virus enter in the vulnerable country. Given the poor facilities in the country, it is reasonable to be concerned that the virus may have already entered in the country but has not been identified yet. This is due to the fact that a large number of Afghan citizens and even Afghan students have returned from China in recent days. In other countries, people who have been infected by those who returned from China. On the other hand, it is very difficult to find and track people who experience mild symptoms of the virus. The common signs of infection include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Experts are unsure of whether the virus is able to transmit before symptoms appear or after. If it worsens, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure or even death. The virus can be spread from animals to human but it also can be spread by coughing, sneezing and through close contact with an infected person or an object carrying the virus. Experts are still figuring out how long an infected person is contagious as they try to determine a point of transmission. There’s no specific treatment for illnesses but the expert recommends taking drinking plenty of liquids and staying home to rest. Therefore, we need an immediate national program for public awareness so as to help people stay away from the possible danger.
Many of the world countries have taken serious measures to prevent from the spread of the Corona virus.  As report quoted the US and Australia said they would deny entry to all foreign visitors who had recently been in China, where the virus first emerged in December. Earlier, countries including Russia, Japan, Pakistan and Italy announced similar travel restrictions but global health officials have advised against such measures.”Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The WHO recommends introducing screening at official border crossings. It has warned that closing borders could accelerate the spread of the virus, with travelers entering countries unofficially.
In addition, many countries have quarantined people who just returned from china at least for 14 days to make sure no virus spread in their countries. For example, one day before the Pentagon said it would provide housing for 1,000 people who may need to be quarantined after arriving in the US from abroad, until 29 February. Four military bases in California, Colorado and Texas would provide up to 250 rooms each. Australia, which announced a similar ban, said any of its own citizens arriving from China would be quarantined for two weeks.
There have also been a number of evacuations from China as foreign governments work to bring their citizens back. More than 300 Indians arrived in Delhi on Saturday after they were evacuated from Wuhan, while about 100 Germans arrived in Frankfurt later the same day. Thailand is also set to evacuate its nationals from the city in the coming days. Russia is supposed to evacuate several hundred of its citizens from Hubei province today and tomorrow. The country has also halted visa-free tourism for Chinese nationals. These countries are also expected to quarantine the returnees for two weeks to monitor them for symptoms and avoid contagion.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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