Update on COVID-19

Jun 2020

15 June 2020 – Afghanistan has confirmed a total of 25,527 COVID-19 cases, and 476 deaths[1,3]. Alarmingly, more than a third of the confirmed COVID19 cases have been among doctors and healthcare staff [2]. The number of cases and deaths for the provinces is as follows (as of 11 June 2020): Kabul (9,140 confirmed cases and 92 deaths), Herat (4,285 confirmed cases and 76 deaths), Balkh (1,382 confirmed cases and 46 deaths), Nangarhar (1,187 confirmed cases and 27 deaths), and Kandahar (964 confirmed cases and 17 deaths) have the most cases1,2.

The total number of COVID-19 testing labs is 11, with five in Kabul (National Public Health Lab, National Veterinary Lab, Afghan-Japan Hospital, Military Hospital and FMIC), and one each in Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Balkh, Paktya, and Kunduz[4]. More recently, a new 100-bed COVID-19 hospital has opened in Heart, funded by the government under direct orders of President Ashraf Ghani[5]. In addition, the Darulaman Palace (300 beds) and Kabul and PolyTechnic universities’ dormitories have been converted into isolation facilities in Kabul city4. However, Afghanistan has struggled to maintain testing capacity, both due to lack of personnel and medical equipment 6. Despite vowing to increase capacity to 5’000 tests a day, the current number of test conducted daily is 1’000 6. Subsequently, on the 13th June, the Ministry of Public Health announced that private clinics and hospitals would  conduct testing of COVID19 samples to increase capacity[6]. With the surge in cases and testing capacity estimated to be at around only 20%, it has been speculated that authorities will impose stricter measures, such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing for the next three months[7].

[1] Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan

[2] https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/exclusive–large-number-of-covid-19-cases-among-afghan-medics-spark-alarm-in-kabul/45744792

[3] https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/afghanistan/

[4] US Embassy in Afghanistan. https://af.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

[5] https://tolonews.com/health/govt-builds-100-bed-hospital-herat-covid-19-patients

[6] https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/afghan-govt-lacks-capacity-for-nationwide-covid19-testing/1865676

[7] https://www.arabnews.com/node/1685751/world






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