Afghanistan + 2 more

Afghanistan: Strategic Situation Report: COVID-19, No. 78 (24 September 2020)

Situation Report
Originally published


Situation Overview:

MOPH Figures: MoPH data shows that 39,170 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan are now confirmed to have COVID-19. Some 32,619 people have recovered, and 1,451 people have died - 76 of whom are healthcare workers. Almost 10 per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases are among healthcare staff. 109,469 people out of a population of 37.6 million have been tested. The majority of the recorded deaths were men between the ages of 50 and 79. Men account for more than 70 per cent of the total COVID-19 confirmed cases in the MOPH data, although this may be the result of over-representation of men in testing. Due to limited public health resources and testing capacity, as well as the absence of a national death register, confirmed cases of and deaths from COVID-19 are likely to be under-reported overall in Afghanistan. Kabul remains the most affected part of the country in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Hirat, Balkh, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

Prevention Measures: WHO warns that widespread complacency and failure to follow public health advice is creating grave risks in the community with people generally not observing physical distancing protocols. Recent modelling on COVID-19 projections, developed by the Centre for Humanitarian Data in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and released on 9 September, suggests cases and deaths will continue to rise over the next four weeks. Modelling further suggests a significant increase in severe cases (potentially up to 3x the number) should current preventative measures be lifted, with serious risks for Afghanistan’s economy and people’s well-being.

Trends in the country’s west: According to local media reports, officials in Hirat are already observing an increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 in recent weeks. Doctors in the region are warning that the second wave of COVID-19 will be more deadly than the first if people do not follow health advice. The Minister for Public Health has also warned that cold weather, air pollution and seasonal diseases as winter approaches could increase the severity of a second wave of the virus. Similarly, according to a recent figures collected by WHO Rapid Response Teams , the west of the country (Hirat and Ghor is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases. WHO also notes that health actors in the west are now starting to see a change in the gender balance among cases with more women now testing positive than was previously the case. Officials are monitoring whether school re-opening is playing a role in the spread of the virus to mothers. While data suggests that the first wave seemed to peak in June, the new rise in cases in the west is being closely monitored.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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