A patient is connected to an oxygen tank in the ICU ward for COVID-19 patients in Kabul, Afghanistan. File/AP
A deadly fungal infection known as "black fungus' that first surfaced in Indian coronavirus patients has been detected in Afghanistan.
After a catastrophic second wave of COVID-19 in India since April which has seen its overall death toll climb to almost 400,000, thousands who contracted the virus also suffered from a rare fungal disease called mucormycosis, or “black fungus.”
Afghanistan is also running short on oxygen and poor Afghans wait sometimes for days for oxygen cylinders to be filled at the few production plants in Kabul.
Health Minister Wahid Majroh said Saturday that the middle of a brutal third wave of the coronavirus, Afghanistan has recorded one death from the fungus, which has been detected in two other patients, he said.
Afghan medical staff ready to face any challenges in the capital Kabul.
Local media reports that in the capital Kabul the health ministry has added hundreds of new beds for the increase in patients, yet the capacity rate is still at nearly 100 per cent.
India, which has more than 30.4 million confirmed COVID-19 infections, second only to the United States — has so far reported more than 40,845 cases of mucormycosis.
In Afghanistan, where people rarely wear masks and there is no social distancing, the numbers of new cases have been steadily rising, with 1,272 new cases in the past 24 hours and 92 deaths. The testing rate in Afghanistan is barely 4,000 a day. Since the pandemic began last year, Afghanistan has recorded 124,757 cases and 5,199 deaths though the figures are believed to be wildly underreported.
Meanwhile barely 2.5% of Afghanistan’s over 36 million people have been vaccinated, as the country has struggled to receive the promised vaccines under the UN-sponsored COVAX scheme.
The fungal condition caught global attention in India and has surfaced in Egypt.
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