Afghanistan Braces for Coronavirus Surge as Migrants Pour Back from Iran

More than 130,000 Afghans have fled the coronavirus outbreak convulsing Iran to return home to Afghanistan amid fears they are bringing new infections with them to the conflict-ridden and impoverished country.

The huge spike in Afghans crossing the porous border from Iran, in one of the biggest cross-border movements of the pandemic, has led to mounting fears in the humanitarian community over the potential impact of new infections carried from Iran, one of the countries worst affected by the virus.

With the Afghan ministry of health warning that some 16 million people could become infected and tens of thousands could die, experts say the wave of returning labourers and refugees, who are then dispersing throughout the country, is threatening an already complex health and security situation.

According to a joint situation report from the World Health Organization and the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the weekend, while only 174 Afghans are confirmed to have the virus, the real number may be much higher because of limited ability to test and trace contacts.

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Latest from Coronafeed; Wednesday, April 1 2020