BY: Ziaullah Akhtar
The unexpected outbreak of the current global threat, Corona Virus Pandemic, affected people throughout the world, and the ever-increasing number of confirmed cases raised experts’ inquisitiveness to find medical strategies to mitigate the ill-effects of COVID-19 and control the situation through preventive measures and medicine.
People from all around the world have been called, in order to avoid infection, keep themselves self-isolated and abide by the call for physical-distancing by the governments and medical experts. Afghanistan, anyhow, has been mired at the insider political differences and ongoing rifts on Taliban fighters release in the outset of Intra-Afghan talks for reconciliation. Therefore, the sudden loom of Coronavirus has further raised concerns and government’s viable efforts, to spread enough awareness and control the continuing spread of the pandemic, have been invisible.
Herat province which records highest positive cases and is the epicenter of Coronavirus epidemic in Afghanistan has been locked-down. However, religious scholars and communal leaders which hold spectacular religious, social and political currency in national ground, have been called by the Ministry of Public Health (MOH), Ministry of Hajj Affairs and World Health Organization (WHO) to play a pivotal role in endorsing protective guidelines as suggested by these specialized ministries for a sustainable solution to the exponentially growing problem of COVID-19 across the country. .
The reason behind the sudden uptick in the toll of infected people in the country is not that people lack awareness but they are, especially uneducated ones, misguided and misinformed by the individuals having little knowledge about science and especially such viral diseases’ it’s being unfortunately misused to attract attention and rather publicize their personal opinions which are fatal if allowed to do so.
However, well-known religious celebrities and scholars across the globe urged prohibition of attending congregational religious worships at congested spots and affirmed a religious decree, having it confirmed with Islamic logics, to perform prayers at home while also implementing social-distancing. Though, Muslims across the world earmarked self-containment and carried on their prayers and expediently kept social-distancing, Afghans being misled by some limited so-called scholars with the notion that Corona is a project against Muslims to forbade them offer their prayers.
In Pakistan, recently videos went viral on social media that some scholars were speaking to public to stop people of using any personal protective equipment (PPE); and meanwhile gave people the unrealistic assurances that Muslims can’t be affected with Covid-19. Some of these people were lately imprisoned and taught lessons about the pandemic. Scholars, after then, released from their detainment shirked from their speeches they had given and appealed public to abide by the medical guidelines. Such action by government was called “Software Update” by the public.
In order to shrink the increasing number of fatalities, caused by Covid-19 pandemic, and alleviate people’s contradictory emotions against Coronavirus, Afghan government needs to implement the aforementioned strategy and strive for spreading awareness to the scholars, who lack scientific knowledge, whose existence with the same ideas about the pandemic can make the conditions worse.
Amid the current global crisis, world’s developed nations are united for their responsibilities towards humanity and are trying their best possible ways through science and research, to help each other in order to stay safe and meanwhile dig out remedial measures and medicinal care that could restrain this fatal virus. Meanwhile, countries like Afghanistan which is suffering from the decades-long war and miseries, people are unaware of the consequential outcomes need to take extreme care owing to the poor and under-resourced medical set up throughout the country. In this case, the role of Afghan scholars, communal and village leaders as well as public health specialists is extremely vital and could assist the situation to mitigate the ill impacts of COVID-19 and put a halt to further spreading of this fatal virus. According to some news’ sources the actual toll of Virus affection is far high than what is being made public, as a mean to downturn and control the growing infection of the COVID-19 pandemic scholars should not shirk from their social responsibility and shall guide people to practice Social-distancing, avoid crowding at mosques and large family gatherings. This way we could help each other and survive, the slogan of “stay home, stay safe” is quite useful.