As Afghan authorities take preventive measures to avoid infections from neighbouring Iran, healthcare workers remain sceptical.
The National Security Council (NSC) has announced that the Afghan government has extended a ban on travel to Iran and all arrivals from the neighbouring country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
NSC in a press release said that a meeting led by the National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib was held to assess the situation to fight against the coronavirus.
The statement did not specify how long the ban, which was announced on Sunday, would be in place.
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In the meantime, the Minister of Public Health, Ferozuddin Firoz declared that no coronavirus case has been recorded in Afghanistan so far, but preparations have been taken for prevention and treatment.
According to the press release, the Ministries of Interior and Finance were instructed to prevent the masks smuggling.
The Ministry of Foreign also instructed to limit its consular services in Iran and asks the neighboring government to stop forced deportation of Afghan Refugees.
Officially known as COVID-19, the virus has so far taken more than 2,300 lives, with the vast majority of those deaths happening in mainland China. It has spread to almost 30 countries including several in the Middle East: besides Iran, where there have been at least 28 confirmed cases, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon have all reported infections.
But to date, there have been no cases in Afghanistan.
In Iran, officials have recommended that people limit their movement in and out of religious sites in Qom, where two elderly people became on Wednesday the outbreak’s first fatalities in the Middle East.
Other measures taken in Iran include the closure of schools, universities and educational centres in 14 provinces across the country starting on Sunday.