Thursday, February 27, 2020

Will Afghanis coming for health check-ups India will bring COVID 19?

Will Afghanis coming for health check-ups India will bring COVID 19?

Will India ban people coming from middle east countries who have recently visited IRAN.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past national President IMA

Religious pilgrims, migrant workers, businessmen, soldiers and clerics all flow constantly across Iran’s frontiers, often crossing into countries with few border controls, weak and ineffective governments and fragile health systems.

Now, as it struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Iran is also emerging as the second focal point after China for the spread of the disease.

Cases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates — even one in Canada — have all been traced to Iran.

The Middle East is in many ways the perfect place to spawn a pandemic, with the constant circulation of both Muslim pilgrims and itinerant workers who might carry the virus.

Iran’s economy has been strangled by sanctions, its people have lost trust in their government and its leaders are isolated from much of the world, providing little clarity about the extent of the epidemic.

Civil wars or years of unrest have shattered the health systems of several neighbouring countries, like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

And most of the region is governed largely by authoritarians with poor track records at providing public transparency, accountability and health services.

Many pilgrimages from middle east countries are still visiting IRAN.

Iran did not disclose the hot spot of corona in time to the WHO. The cases were only detected when people started dying. Today we have 245 infected cases and 26 deaths in IRAN. The cases are under reported as 1- 2% (outside China) is the fatality rate and 26 deaths would mean at least 1300- 2600 cases in Iran.

People till that time thought IRAN to be a safe place and continued visiting the holy areas in IRAN and carried the infections in many middle east countries.

Bahrain is a small country with half the population size of south Delhi and alone has 33 positive cases.

Afghanistan is also a country with weak health care system. Many Afghanis are coming to India daily on health visa and many of them come via Iran. It is likely many of them would carry the virus to India.

Even Pakistan Medical Association is worried about Afghanis coming with eh virus.   Prof Ashraf Nizami the First VP CMAAO wrote that “These two are confirmed cases, with travel history from Iran, one is in Karachi and the other in Islamabad. Chinese working in Pakistan were under strict surveillance after their return to Pakistan having new year celebrations at home. None was found positive for COVID – 19. Pakistan has closed its border with Iran, which is 900 KM, but we have a second threat of 1300 KM border with Afghanistan. Mostly Pak Afghan border is porous one, one of the main reasons of uncontrolled Poliovirus in Pakistan.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran had no plans to quarantine any "cities and districts" in response to the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Iraq banned all public gatherings and banned travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain from entry, taking the total number of countries on the entry ban list to nine amid growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus. The nine countries are: China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Will India ban people coming from middle east countries who have recently visited IRAN.

Saudi Arabia has temporarily halted the entry of pilgrims entering the country to visit holy sites, to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The Saudi government said it would suspend visas for Muslims seeking to visit Mecca and Medina.

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