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Covid-19 2nd wave feared if precautions ignored

Covid-19 2nd wave feared if precautions ignored

Nov 07, 2020 - 20:08

KABUL (Pajhwok): The probability of a second wave of Covid-19 in Afghanistan is feared after a doctor contracted the virus for a second time and died. Millions of Afghans have already recovered from the disease.

The second wave of the virus is underway in some countries and researches have so far not concluded how much human antibodies could resist the second infection.

The virus first emerged in Wuhan province of China in November in 2019 but it rapidly spread to many other countries.

The infection cases of the virus have currently reached 50 million with 1.25 million people died while 35 million others recovered.

According to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), it has recorded 42,033 cases of Covid19, 1,556 deaths and 34,446 recoveries since its outbreak in Afghanistan.

However, a survey from MoPH released on September 6 shows that only four in 10 cases have been recorded until September 6. The virus’s spread was on the rise from February and reached the peak in May.

According to reports, most or 1,062 of cases were registered on May 15, and after that, the number of cases dropped by dozens.

Figures show on average, 54 cases of the virus have been registered across the country since the last three months. During this period, most of the cases (215) were registered on August 12 and least (one) case registered on August 16. There was also a day that no case was recorded.

Second wave of Covid19

According European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control or ECDC, the second wave of Covid19 has yet reached Afghanistan and a number of other countries, but in some other countries, the second wave has seriously affected people.

The causes of the second wave:

Dr. Hayatullah Hayat, a medical lecturer in Kabul Medical University, said that preventive measures against the virus and quarantine were very strict in developed countries since the first outbreak and that was the reason the cases dropped to almost zero.

He said, “Although the cases were controlled and declined; but they did not reach zero, so these countries opened schools, universities and other gatherings, but the move caused those uninfected in the past were infected in a new wave in large numbers.”

Can a person contract Covid19 again?

Hayat said information shows some people in the world are infected for a second time but the number of such cases is very limited.

“Based on information, one case of this type was recorded in Hong Kong and another in the US, a similar case was registered in Herat province too, a professional of infectious diseases contracted the virus for a second time and unfortunately, he lost his life to the disease,” he said.

Dr. Akmal Samsur, spokesman of MoPH, confirmed that only one person, who was a doctor named Mir Ibarahim in Herat province, got infected for a second time and lost his life. He said that no more cases of the kind had been recorded in Afghanistan.

According to published information, experts are yet to explain for how long a person can resist a second contract of Covid19.

Information shows a person’s resistance to the virus for a second infection is one type of immunity, but another type of immunity is weak infection and low possibilities of spread of the virus to other people during second infection.

A research on people who contracted Covid19 shows that antibodies developed in first infection gradually weakens, but they remain relatively active from three to six months.

A German professor, Thomas Conrad in an interview with Deutsche Welle said that those with weak signs of Covid19, their bodies contained antibodies for a certain period of time.

“There are very limited people who lose antibodies after two or three months, most of people keep the antibodies for a longer time. We know this virus for around nine months, so we cannot predict if the antibodies remain active beyond two years,” he said.

Health affairs experts say that vaccine is necessary for prevention of Covid19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), efforts are going in many countries for making vaccine to deal with the virus while some countries have launched clinical experiments in this regard.

Probability of a second wave of Covid19 in Afghanistan:

MoPH says the second wave of the virus may hit Afghanistan if people do not follow health instructions. However, some experts believe that there is very little chance of a second wave of the virus in Afghanistan.

Dr. Hayatullah Hayat said there was very little chance for a second wave of Covid19 in Afghanistan as he believed because most of Afghans have already infected and recovered from the virus. But the number of cases may rise with the weather getting cold, he added.

He said that from five to 10 cases of the virus had been registered on a daily basis around three months ago in Afghanistan, and that was the reason government opened schools and universities, now the cases had reached around 100 daily.

Hayat said 100 cases a day did not mean a second wave of the virus, but the number of cases may rise in the winter.

Dr. Akmal Samsor, MoPH spokesman, said that a second wave of the virus was possible in Afghanistan but the chance would be lessened if people followed health instructions, used masks and avoided crowds.

This comes as most of Afghans in educational centers, offices and crowds do not use masks and do not keep distance.

However, Samsor said the number of cases may rise even before the arrival of winter if people kept negligence and a second wave of the virus will erupt.

“Based on the recent survey, around 31 percent of Afghans have contracted Covid19 while 70 percent others are not infected so far, no one can tell if a person can be infected twice, so there is need for a lot of caution,” he added.

Preparation for a second wave of the virus:

Government’s measures for controlling the first wave of the virus were criticized, but Samsor, regarding preparations for dealing with the virus said, “We have developed a complete plan for dealing with the second wave of Covid19, and we have considered time for that until the start of new year.”

Providing more beds, better services for patients, increasing laboratories and health equipment, improving services and providing help to patients quarantined in their homes are part of the preparations according to MoPH.

Samsor said the ministry collected suggestions and recommendations from all relevant organs for the plan and the cabinet has approved it. “It is under implementation since the last two months”, he concluded.

This report has been produced by Pajhwok and financially supported by UNDP.


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