Pakistan sends another batch of aid to Afghanistan to fight Covid

Islamabad stands with Kabul in its fight against coronavirus, says envoy Mohammad Sadiq

News Desk July 04, 2021

Pakistan on Saturday sent another batch of aid to Afghanistan to help in its battle against the Covid-19 as the war-ravaged country grapples with a shortage of vaccines and medical oxygen.

Afghanistan is grappling with a third wave of the pandemic, with a record number of infections and deaths being reported amid a surge in violence as US-led international forces withdraw and Taliban insurgents go on the offensive.

The country's health officials warned on Saturday of a "catastrophic Covid-19 wave" soon after Iran and Pakistan faced fifth and fourth waves of the deadly disease.

"Pakistan sends yet another convoy of trucks full of material to fight Covid-19," Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq wrote on his official Twitter handle along with a video of trucks being sent to Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan stands with Afghanistan in its fight against coronavirus. "Hope and pray both our countries are free of virus as soon as possible," he added.

Read more: Full hospitals in Afghanistan close doors to new patients as Covid-19 surges

Afghan health authorities on Saturday warned of surging cases of mucormycosis, also known as "black fungus," among coronavirus patients.

The country's Health Minister Waheed Majorh said that health professionals had identified at least three confirmed cases of the fungal infection caused by exposure to mucor mould, commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables. The condition mainly affects people who have a weak immune system causing loss of eyesight, removal of the nose and jaw bone.

Underlining that officials were using all available means to procure and purchase vaccines, Majorh said that low output of jabs and little competition among producers has made it difficult for Afghanistan to procure vaccines in the open market.

Also read: Covid-19 patients in Afghanistan gasping for air amid rising infections

"We are faced with the third wave of the pandemic, and as neighbouring Iran is facing the fifth wave and Pakistan is faced with the fourth wave, we are going to face another catastrophic wave soon," he warned.

"The raging war is on one side and the pandemic on the other side. For God's sake, avoid gatherings and obey safety measures," he urged Afghans.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, over 500 people died due to the pandemic in the past week alone.

According to official figures, more than one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have already been administered in the country with a population believed to be about 36 million.

This is not the first time Pakistan has helped out its neighbouring in its fight against the coronavirus. In November, the country had donated an oxygen generating plant to facilitate the treatment of critically ill patients in Afghanistan.

The oxygen production plant at the Pakistan-funded Muhammad Ali Jinnah Hospital in Kabul is a “gift by the government of Pakistan to cater to the needs of the Afghan patients”, an official statement had said.

The new oxygen plant has helped doctors treat Covid-19 patients effectively as the plant has the capacity of providing oxygen to more than 200 beds in addition to extra 50 oxygen balloons per hour and around 1,200 balloons in 24 hours.

(With input from agencies)


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