COVID-19: Afghanistan asks WHO for Omicron testing kits

Afghanistan asks WHO for Omicron testing kits

KABUL: Amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, the Taliban led government has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide the Omicron’s testing kits for Afghanistan.

This comes as the new coronavirus variant has been detected in neighbouring countries including Iran and Pakistan. Health workers in the country say that fighting against the pandemic should not be ignored as the country is facing both economic and political challenges.
Afghan Health Ministry spokesperson Javed Hazher confirmed that Afghanistan has a dearth of Omicron testing kits, TOLOnews reported.

“The Omicron is not distinguishable by the PCR machines that we have now, it requires more developed machinery. We have contacted the WHO and they have promised to provide these machines for us by the end of January 2022,” he said.

Workers at one of the coronavirus treatment centres in Kabul expressed concern over the lack of medical supplies at the hospital.

“There are many problems in the hospital: medicine, oxygen and medical equipment are not sufficiently stocked. Our staff has not been paid for several months,” said Zalmai Reshteen, director of the Afghan-Japan Hospital.

So far, Afghanistan has reported 16,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 7,300 deaths.

“The economy and political problems caused COVID-19 to be ignored and not taken seriously. A crisis will happen if we do not face the lastest wave of the coronavirus, which is omicron,” said Ahmad Jawad Fardeen, a doctor.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the Omicron variant is very transmissible and is leading to a tsunami of COVID-19 cases.

“Right now Delta and Omicron are twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers, which again is leading to spikes in hospitalisations and deaths,” said Dr Tedros during a media briefing on Wednesday.

He also said that this virus will continue to evolve and threaten health systems if the collective response is not improved. (ANI) 

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