An official survey conducted by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) suggests that 31.5 percent of Afghanistan population—around 10 million people—have been infected by the coronavirus. The poll titled “a national survey of estimated covid-19 infection rate” was ordered by President Ghani.

Infection rate is varied by region; Kabul, with 53 percent infection rate, is the hardest hit region while the central highland of Bamyan and Daikundi provinces reported the lowest infection rate (21.1%).

Contrary to a widespread belief that children are not infected by the virus in the country, MoPH survey has found that a large number of children (5-17 years old) have contracted the virus and contributed to spread the virus while being asymptomatic. According to the survey, among the inflected, children make 25.3 percent of them.

As per the survey, the infection rate among adults stand at 35.2 percent indicating that nearly six million of the Covid-19 patients are adults.

A rural-urban classification of the survey suggests a much higher virus contagion in urban areas (42.3% adults; 30.8% children) than rural areas with (31.7% adults; 23.4% children).

By gender, the survey has found that women (37.2% adults, 26.8% children) are more infected by coronavirus than men (33.9% adults, 26.8% children). Though the health ministry has not pointed out to a specific reason, it has stated that the more infection rate among women could be attributed to their caring role in the family sphere.

This comes as a previous opinion poll jointly conducted in July by Etilaatroz and Kabul Now suggested that the Covid-19 death toll was much higher in Kabul than the official figure announced by the MoPH. A vast majority of the poll’s participants had reported knowing someone likely infected by the coronavirus.

Speaking at launch ceremony of the MoPH survey on Wednesday, August 05, acting health minister, Ahmad Jawad Osmani, said that the infection rate of the coronavirus had started to decline across the country since Jun 15. This is the 30th week since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Afghanistan and every week the country is witnessing a better situation than the before, according to the acting minister.

“Positive cases have decreased to 760 cases in the 30th week from 898 cases in the 29th week. There were 145 deaths in the 29th week which has reduced to 86 deaths in the 30th week,” said Mr. Osmani.

Methodology of the survey

A total of 9,514 people have been tested in 338 areas across nine regions using the cross-sectional survey method.

In the survey, Afghanistan is divided into nine separate regions with Kabul province regarded as a single region.

Developments in health care service

During the launch ceremony, the acting minister spoke of new developments and changes that have contributed to improve the situation across the country. He said that most of the country’s 34 provinces have already been equipped with ventilators except 11 provinces which would be equipped until next week. “We are now also in a better situation in terms of medicines and medical equipment,” the acting minister noted, adding that the health ministry will send 550 oxygen concentrators to 100 hospitals in districts that will enable them to treat around 500 covid-19 patients.

According to Osmani, in addition to 11 state-run Covid-19 testing laboratories, eight private laboratories are also operational now in the country. With 1,030 beds currently allocated to Covid-19 patients, the acting health minister said that ten percent of the beds of medical centers equipped with beds will also be allocated to Covid-19 patients.

As per the health ministry’s new policy, Covid-19 treatment centers will be established in provincial and regional hospitals which will facilitate a timely health service delivery for the Covid-19 patients.

Based on latest updates provided by the MoPH, a total of 36,937 people have tested positive for the coronavirus as of today, Thursday, August 06, in Afghanistan. With 98 patients recovered over past 24 hours from the Covid-19, recovery toll has reached 25,840.

With four new deaths from the coronavirus, the total death toll has reached 1,298 in the country.

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