Kabul: According to the official statistics of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Thursday, 63 patients died due to the COVID-19 virus during the past 24 hours while 1,967 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection were reported.
The MoPH also stated that 697 patients recovered from the infection during the last 24 hours. The Ministry of Public Health tested 6,197 suspected coronavirus samples in the last 24 hours. With the registration of new figures, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached 111,592. Of these, 4,519 people have died and 66,799 patients have recovered. In fact, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) announced a two-week extension (June 26- July9 ) to the existing quarantine terms for educational facilities.
MoLSA stated that the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has decided to extend the terms for all public and private creches, and educational facilities, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and contain the virus.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 outbreak at the US Embassy in Kabul has grown to 159 cases, according to a diplomatic cable sent on Tuesday, as a devastating third wave of the deadly disease continues to hit Afghanistan.
A source familiar with the cable told CNN that several people at the diplomatic mission are on oxygen or have been medically evacuated from the post, which was put under immediate lockdown last week to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The growing outbreak at the embassy has prompted frustration among some in the diplomatic community over the lack of a vaccine mandate for those posted abroad, which they argue hampers the United States’ ability to conduct effective foreign policy.
An embassy management notice dated June 17 warned that “COVID-19 is surging in the Mission,” noting that there were 114 people with coronavirus and in isolation, one death and several medical evacuations. “Military hospital ICU resources are at full capacity, forcing our health units to create temporary, on-compound COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients,” that notice said.
Sources familiar with the situation point to a confluence of factors behind the outbreak at the diplomatic mission. Some of the cases in the current outbreak came from personnel interacting directly with the public, and there have been some breakthrough cases among staff who had been vaccinated. According to the embassy notice, “95% of our cases are individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated,” and it called for those coming to the embassy to be vaccinated before arrival, noting that “failure to do this puts everyone in the community at risk.”
The surge in cases has fueled tensions in Kabul, sources told CNN, with some pointing the blame at unvaccinated contractors. Most American diplomats, third country nationals and locally employed staff have been vaccinated — the rate is more than 90% of staff in the latter two categories, according to the management notice.
According to an official at a major international security provider for the US in Afghanistan, almost 50% of its American staff in Afghanistan have been vaccinated and nearly all of its non-American staff have been. The American Foreign Service Association has called for “the Biden Administration to take swift action to allow the Department of State to require all personnel, including local employees and third-country nationals, serving at our embassies and consulates abroad under Chief of Mission authority, direct-hire and contract alike, to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 as a condition of their physical presence in the workplace.”
“The only exceptions would be for those individuals who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons or disability or religious belief or practice,” the organization said in a statement this week.