All Operations Shut Down As COVID-19 Outbreak Hits US Embassy In Kabul

Kabul: One person died and 114 others have been infected with COVID-19 as the pandemic hit the US Embassy in Kabul. Nearly all operations have shut down at the embassy, where staffers are working to coordinate the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

On Thursday, a note approved by Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson stated that COVID-19 is “surging in the mission,” and several staffers have been medically evacuated. Intensive care units at military hospitals are at full capacity, the note said, “forcing our health units to create temporary, on-compound COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients.”

This comes even as the Ministry of Public Health recorded 1,384 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 92 deaths in the past 24 hours on Saturday. The total Covid-19 cases in Afghanistan has now crossed 101,906. The death toll too stands at 4,122.

Meanwhile, due to the increase in coronavirus cases in Afghanistan, Pakistan has closed off the Pak-Afghan friendship gate in Chaman for bilateral pedestrian traffic.

According to Pakistan’s Deputy Commissioner of Chaman Tariq Mengal, the friendship gate has been closed for two-way traffic from Friday (June 18) as per the decision of National Command and Operating center (NCOC). “Bilateral foot traffic to and from the friendship gate would be suspended till further notice, however, bilateral trade will continue,” he added.

While talking about Pakistanis in Afghanistan he said that they can return while following strict coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) and Afghans in Pakistan can return to their country. However, the sudden closure of the gate has left a large number of Pakistani and Aghan citizens stranded on both sides of the border.

Even Afghanistan students currently pursuing studies in Pakistani universities and who had returned home after their institutions shut due to Covid-19, have urged Islamabad to grant them special permits to re-enter the country in time to sit for examinations in the now re-opened varsities. Hundreds of Afghans studying in Pakistan on scholarship programs had returned to their country about a month ago after the closure of their universities due to the COVID-19 spread. They have now been re-opened as the quarantine period has ended in Pakistan.

Students were mostly worried that if the border closure continued, they would miss their classes and the academic year without any progress in their education. However, Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) in a statement said that the Torkham border would be shut until the next announcement due to high COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan.

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Latest from Newsfeed; Saturday, June 19 2021