2 foreign diplomats test coronavirus positive in Afghanistan

Kabul, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- Health authorities in Afghanistan on Sunday said 10 more patients, including two Kabul-based foreign diplomats, have tested positive for coronavirus that brings the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 34 in the war-ravaged nation.

Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said that out of the 10 new cases, three were reported from Herat, two each in Zabul and Kabul and one each in Kandahar, Ghazni, and Balkh provinces.

“The two positive cases in Kabul are diplomats from (foreign) embassies in Kabul,” he told reporters.

He didn’t give more details but said the envoys had recently returned from abroad.

The minister made a plea to the Taliban, seeking its cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus in the country.

“Our message to the Taliban is to have comprehensive cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health in its efforts to prevent and control the coronavirus (spread) in the country,” he said.

“It is necessary that all Afghans (including the Taliban) jointly fight to prevent and control this virus,” Feroz said

He said the government was providing health services “without discriminations in all parts of the country”, including the areas under the Taliban control.

Feroz said the ministry has collected samples of suspected patients from several southern Afghan provinces like Helmand, Farah, Kandahar and northern Kunduz province “particularly from the Taliban controlled areas”

The minister said people must cooperate and employ social distancing measures as “in the coming two weeks, the graph of the positive cases will go up” in Afghanistan.

He urged people to take the government’s awareness campaigns and suggestions seriously, particularly in Kabul city that houses over five million people and could be particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.”

He said citizens above 65 were strongly advised to remain in their homes during these days.

The minister suggested a total lockdown of the western Herat province, which borders Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the world, and is particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

Herat has recorded a maximum — 15 of the 34 cases – in Afghanistan and is considered the gateway of the Covid-19 in the country due to its proximity to Iran. EFE


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