ZARANJ (Pajhwok): Daily at least 1,000 Afghans return to Afghanistan from Iran, something that has increased the risk of Covid-19 spread in the country, an official in Nimroz province said on Thursday.
The Refugees and Repatriation Department (RRD) of southern Nimorz province says there is lack of resources and facilities to get all incoming Afghans tested for Covid-19, a claim the Public Health Department rejected.
This comes as four health officials, including three ladies, have been assigned by the Health Department on border with Iran in Nimroz province to check the temperature of incoming Afghans
Nimroz Refugees Department:
Deputy Head of Health Department Mirwais Arab said: “Up to 2,000 Afghans enter Afghanistan from Iran daily. The problem is some people enter the country without Covid-19 test and they transfer the pandemic with them to the country.”
He asked the Public Health Ministry to take serious notice of the situation and increase the number of health officials who conduct Covid-19 test on the border.
Returnees may transfer pandemic: People
Abdul Hameed, a resident of Balwa area of Zaranj, the provincial capital, said: “We are worried that returnees may transfer illness with them from Iran because some people entered the country without Covid-19 test.”
Last week, he said his cousin came from Iran to Zaranj without being tested for Covid-19.
Haji Gul Ahmad Ahmadi, deputy head of the Provincial Council, expressed concern over free flow of migrants to the country and added: “We should be very careful regarding Covid-19 virus which is currently spreading in the world and everyone is at risk.”
He asked the health ministry to increase the number of health officials assigned for Covid-19 testing at the border so that all incoming people could be tested.
Returnee: I entered without any test
Ahmad Shah, a resident of Herat province, who arrived in the country 10 days earlier, said: “I had fever but still I know that it is not due to Covid-19. I stood among many people in the crowd and when the doctor was busy to check other people I managed to escape unnoticed.”
He said many Afghans had tested positive for Covid-19 in Iran and said like him many other people managed to enter Nimroz province without test because Afghans feared quarantine and strict rules in Iran.
Officials: We have full capacity to test people
Abdul BasirSadaat, RRT team in-charge on the Wrashim Zero Point, said eight people — three women and five men — had been tasked to check the temperature of returnees. He claimed his team is fully capable and checked 1,000 to 3,000 people a day.
He added returnees with high temperature were requested to quarantine themselves at home and other individuals with Covid-19 symptoms were referred for test in the lab. He added there is no lab in Nimroz to test samples and they are sent to Kandahar City for test.
Sadaat said currently 35 people out of 1,000 are suspected Covid-19 patients and their samples had been sent for test.
He said individuals with positive result are referred to Nimroz Hospital and issued necessary guidelines. He added if they noticed a surge in the number of returnees they would hire more people.
In Nimroz, 993 people tested positive for Covid-19 out of which 27 had died. While nation-wide, 67,700 people had tested positive for Covid-19 and among them 2,887 had died.