Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs (MoHRA) has called on people to avoid going to mosques for congregational prayers during coronavirus lockdown.
According to the Ministry, since fear could be a legitimate reason for not attending congregational prayers, refusing it will not carry sin.
It said that congregational prayers including weekly Friday ones could be performed with the least number of participants including those based in the mosques and their immediate surroundings.
People having coronavirus symptoms have been strongly urged to avoid mosques.
Afghan authorities have announced that the four main security gates of the Kabul have been closed due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The office of Kabul governor in a press release said that the security gates of Kabul city closed based on the decision of Kabul military Council and as the day-time curfew started.
The Kabul governor has urged the citizens to cooperate with the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Despite the announcement of reopening of the Pak-Afghan border by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 20, over 1,700 loaded vehicles are still stranded, increasing the chances of COVID-19 outbreak in the border areas.
The issue was highlighted by the All Pakistan Customs Bonded Carrier Association (APCBCA).
APCBCA said that around 5,600 drivers/cleaners are stranded at both sides of the Pak-Afghan border for the last about 30 days, and no COVID-19 case has so far been reported among them.
It said that the Pak-Afghan border was opened for three days on March 20, but, unfortunately, over 1,700 vehicles were still stuck there due to procedural delays, leaving around 5,600 drivers/cleaners stranded near the Pak-Afghan border with no basic facilities.
Afghan local education officials have rang the school bell in Samangan province and the subjects will be broadcasted through the public TV.
The governor of Samangan Abdul Latifi Ibrahimi by ringing the bell, said that the school subjects have been recorded for the new educational year of 1399 and will be broadcasted via Afghanistan National TV channel.
“Due to the prevention of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Education decided to broadcast the school subjects through the public Television in three sections,” Ibrahimi said.
With schools in Afghanistan remaining closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is scheduled to launch a national learning platform and will start broadcasting core school subjects on public TV and radio to help Afghan students keep learning even with classes suspended.
The move toward remote learning comes as schools have postponed for at least up to the
next month until further notice.
As coronavirus spreads around the globe, health experts and aid groups fear some of the world’s most vulnerable countries could become new hotspots for COVID-19.
Most are concerned about over-crowded refugee camps and countries that are already facing a crisis — whether that be conflict, malnutrition, another epidemic or over-burdened healthcare systems.
Analysis from aid organisation CARE listed 15 “very high risk countries”, most of them in the Middle East and Africa including Afghanistan.
It found they had three times higher exposure to epidemics and six times higher risk in terms of accessing healthcare.
Thirty-one Indian nationals, including 26 security force personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and four diplomats from the Indian consulate in Jalalabad returned from Afghanistan on Monday, after the Indian government decided to temporarily close its Consulates in Jalalabad and Herat over fears of the coronavirus and growing security threats.
All the personnel, who were brought in on a special Kam airlines flight from Kabul organised by the Afghanistan Embassy to fly out Afghan nationals, were taken directly to the ITBP special facility in Chhawla for 14 days of quarantine, the ITBP spokesperson said.
Another group of Indian Ministry of External Affairs and ITBP personnel from the consulate in Herat, near the Iranian border, are expected to return on Thursday.
As The Hindu had reported on Monday, operations at the Consulate, which will be serviced by local personnel, are being suspended, and will be resumed only after a detailed assessment, given the deteriorating security conditions in Afghanistan.