• 22,142 people have tested positive for COVID-19. 405 people have died and 3,013 recovered.
• Since the start of March, partners have medically screened 389,242 people at points-of-entry, delivered WASH assistance to more than 1,133,794 people and sensitised more than 1,001,011 people on COVID-19 information, risks and preventive measures across the country.
• A revised Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2020 seeks US$1.1 billion to deliver prioritised assistance to 11.1 million people with acute humanitarian needs.
• Children are exhibiting behavioural and emotional changes due to the extended lockdown situation. A recent phone survey in Hirat province shows that more than 30 per cent of the interviewed parents (646 people) had noticed behaviour changes in their children during the pandemic.
• COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on women, children and people with specific needs, as well as displaced people and those deprived of their liberty.
MoPH data shows that 22,142 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 3,013 people have recovered, and 405 people have died (16 of which are healthcare workers). 50,658 people out of the population of 37.6 million have been tested. Afghanistan has a test-positivity-rate – positive tests as a percentage of total tests – of more than 43 per cent. More than six per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases are among healthcare staff. The majority of the deaths were people between ages of 40 and 69. Men in this age group represent more than half of all COVID-19-related deaths. With a fragile health system, a developing economy and underlying vulnerabilities, the people of Afghanistan face grave consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are expected to continue to increase over the weeks ahead, as community transmission escalates, threatening people’s well-being. Kabul remains the most affected part of the country in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Hirat, Balkh, Nangarhar and Kandahar provinces. Resourcing community engagement, surveillance, and contact tracing is critical to scale-up COVID-19 response.
On 6 June, the Government of Afghanistan announced that it was extending the nationwide lockdown for three more months, issuing new health guidelines for citizens to follow. According to the new guidelines, people must wear a face mask in public places at all times, maintain a 2-metre physical distance, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, disinfect all workplaces, and ensure older people stay at home. Additionally, all schools and educational centres, hotels, parks, sports complexes and other public places will remain closed for three months since announcement. Public transport facilities, such as buses, carrying more than four passengers will not be allowed to travel. Restaurants and coffee shops will only be allowed to carry out service delivery and take-aways.
Despite the announcement, implementation of these measures continue to differ across provinces, with provincial authorities having been given the authority to decide on and implement their own lockdowns. While a number of provinces have already begun easing their lockdowns (e.g. Kandahar, Hilmand and Ghazni, Badakhshan, Khost, Paktya, Kunduz and Takhar) formally or informally, other provinces (including Balkh and Samangan) instead reinstated a full lockdown from the end of May as the number of infections began increasing.
Throughout the country, these ‘measured lockdowns’ have resulted in closures of sections of each city, increased numbers of checkpoints and/or imposition of movement limitations. Although recent reports indicate a general decrease in the number of reported access incidents as compared to the start of the lockdown measures, humanitarian partners continue to report access constraints across the country, despite assurances by the Government that these would not limit critical UN/NGO programme movements. This has resulted in some delays in assistance delivery. Despite these challenges, humanitarian partners remain active in responding to crises throughout the country and continue to urge the Government to employ a national approach to these movement issues so that individual negotiations are not required on a case-by-case basis.
Humanitarians remain concerned about the impact of extended lockdown measures on the most-vulnerable, particularly families who rely on casual daily labour and lack alternative income sources. According to WFP’s market monitoring, the price of wheat flour (low price) has increased by 19 per cent between 14 March and 31 May, while the cost of pulses, sugar, cooking oil and rice (low quality) increased by 32 per cent, 19 per cent, 36 per cent, and 22 per cent, respectively, over the same period. FSAC partners have also noted that the purchasing power of casual labourers and pastoralists have deteriorated by 12 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively (compared to 14th March), mainly due to increased wheat prices.
While implementing activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, humanitarians continue to respond to other ongoing and emerging humanitarian needs. Conflict and natural disasters across the country continue to displace thousands of families, compounding pre-existing. During the past week, ES-NFI partners have provided shelter support packages to 142 families in Hirat and Farah provinces, reaching 957 people. 41 families were verified by ES-NFI partners as eligible to receive emergency NFI assistance. 4,212 people were treated for trauma care by Health Cluster partners as conflict continues in many parts of the country. Five health facilities in contested areas were rehabilitated by Health partners. 44,963 women in hard-to-reach areas received antenatal and postnatal care from midwives deployed through Mobile Health Teams (MHT). 31 GBV cases were identified and referred to Family Protection Centres (FPCs) in Kabul, Logar and Kandahar provinces. 51 unaccompanied and separated boys without parental care, including returnees, were provided with interim care, psychosocial support and reunified with their families by Protection partners. 1,212 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 1,736 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) during the reporting period. As part of its regular programming, WFP continued to respond to ongoing food needs and has distributed food to more than 345,135 food insecure people between 21 May – 3 June.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.