Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Presidential Palace has announced that the Kabul Quarantine has been extended to three weeks.
The Presidential deputy spokesman, Dawa Khan Mina Pal said that the cabinet members decided to extend the quarantine by three weeks during Thursday’s session.
This comes as the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country reaches 840.
Kabul province with 11 death toll has the highest number of victims compared to the other provinces.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) says most of the coronavirus cases are among the people aged 20 to 29 in Afghanistan.
The spokesman of MoPH, Wahidullah Mayar in a press conference on Thursday said that 56 new cases of coronavirus were registered during the past 24 hours which the number of infected patients reaches 840.
According to Mayar, out of a total of 56 new cases, 37 were related to Kabul province, 11 to Herat, 6 to Balkh and one to Nangarhar and Laghman provinces each.
Mayar noted that as many as 10 other patients with coronavirus have been recovered in the past 24 hours and the total number of recovered patients so far has reached 54.
An individual also died of the coronavirus in Sarobi District of Kabul.
MoPH spokesman cited that the death toll from the coronavirus reaches 30 that 11 deaths were from Kabul, six in Herat, four in Balkh, three in Nangarhar, two in Takhar and one in Ghazni, Logar and Daikundi provinces each.
Of the total number of people infected with the coronavirus, 74.3% are men and 25.7% are women, with the youngest being between the ages of 20 and 29 are among the largest number of COVID-19 cases, Mayar said.
He added that the reports on dismissal of the three deputy ministers are incorrect and that the three had been working in other parts of the Ministry.
The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said any reduction in troop numbers will be condition based as he reaffirmed the alliance’s support to Afghanistan and the Afghan forces.
He made the remarks in response to a question regarding the impact of the recent political developments and the U.S.-Taliban peace on NATO mission in Afghanistan.
“Well, NATO Allies and NATO have expressed support to the agreement between the US and Taliban. And to support the peace efforts we have decided to adjust our troop levels in Afghanistan from currently roughly 16,000 down to 12,000. But we also said that any reduction will be conditions based and that we remain committed to Afghanistan and that we will continue to provide training, assistance and also financial support,” Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg further added “And we have to understand that even at the level of 12,000 we will be able to continue the mission operations very much as we have done for several years now, because we were actually almost at that level until 2017. Then we had that increase to 16,000. Now we are back again almost at the same level as before the increase in 2017. So the NATO troop levels have been adjusted before up and down, and we have conveyed a clear message that what we do in Afghanistan will be conditions based.”
However, he said “So NATO’s message is that we went into Afghanistan together, we’ll make decisions on adjusting our posture together and when the time is right, we will of course leave together, but we will leave when the conditions are in place for reducing further our presence.”
He also added “We actually believe that the best way we can support the peace efforts is to continue to support the Afghan security forces and by doing that sending a message to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield. They have to sit down and make real compromises at the negotiating table. We call on the Taliban to respect the peace agreement with the US to reduce violence and to sit down and engage in intra-Afghan negotiations.”
Following the registration of two cases of coronavirus in Kunar province, the local authorities begin to quarantine the province.
The governor of Kunar press office in a press release said that the Asad Abad City, the center of the province and the districts are completely under quarantine.
According to the press release, all connectivity routes of the center to districts have been blocked to traffic.
The governor of Kunar urged all residents of the province to cooperate with the security forces and stay at home.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) says at least 56 new positive cases of coronavirus were registered in the country during the past 24 hours.
The spokesman of MoPH, Wahidullah Mayar in a press conference said that the new cases include 37 Cases in Kabul, 11 in Herat, 6 in Balkh, and one in Kunar and Laghman provinces each.
According to Mayar, with the registration of the new cases, the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the country reaches 840.
He added that the death toll from the coronavirus rises to 30 and 54 other have been recovered so far.
The hydroxychlorquine tablets for Afghanistan will be sent from the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund which was set up following the suggestion made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India will be sending 5 lakh tablets to Afghanistan. The fund it may be recalled was created with an initial corpus of USD 10 million from India. Other SAARC members have also contributed towards the fund.
The anti-malarial drug has shown positive results in some coronavirus cases. This has boosted the world wide demand for the drug.
Officials at the Public Health department in Herat province say at least ten new positive cases of coronavirus were registered in the province during the past 24 hours.
The spokesman of Herat Health department, Muhammad Rafiq Sherzai said, around 140 suspected samples of the coronavirus were tested in the laboratories during the past 24 hours which 11 of them confirmed positive.
He added that the new cases include four men and 7 women.
With the registration of the new cases, the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the country reaches 795.
The Lower House of Parliament says that the government’s performance in fighting the Coronavirus is insufficient and warned about the rising number of the COVID-19 patients in Afghanistan.
Afghan lawmakers say that COVID-19 test kits haven’t been sent to the provinces where there are greater threats of the virus.
This comes as the Health Minister warned about the deadly consequences of COVID-19 saying that there will be human crisis, if the people don’t pay their responsibilities in this matter.
The Lower House underlined that protecting the lives of the people is a basic responsibility of the government, and they should try everything to fight the Coronavirus and rescue people’s lives.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad says he has talked with the Kazakh special representative for Afghanistan.
“Talked with Kazakh SR Kaliyev earlier this week on a range of topics, including the importance of restarting grain and wheat exports to Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.
“We agreed regional connectivity and coordination is not only fundamental for a lasting peace but also addressing global threats to our collective future as the current fight against COVID-19 shows,” he added.
This comes as with the spread of the coronavirus in the country, food prices are on rise in Afghan provinces.
More than 60 percent of the population in Afghanistan could become infected with the coronavirus, the National Statistic and Information Authority said on Wednesday.
Afghanistan has registered 784 cases of coronavirus and 25 deaths attributed to it. NSIA said that coronavirus cases double every five days and the pandemic would peak in a month.
According to the authority, home quarantine is the best way to prevent infection by the virus.
However, lockdown by authorities has added to concerns about poverty and hunger.
Based on the latest figures from NSIA, more than 54 percent of the Afghan population live below the poverty line and in capital Kabul alone 125,000 households depend on daily wage workers.