• According to MOPH data as of 15 October, 40,026 people in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19; 1,481 have died and 33,447 have recovered.
• Since the start of March, partners have medically screened 496,901 people at points-of-entry, provided 287,583 people with psychosocial support to cope with the mental health effects of COVID-19 and distributed more than 5 million bars of soap in 312 districts across the country.
MOPH Figures: MoPH data shows that as of 15 October, 40,026 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan are now confirmed to have COVID-19. Some 33,447 people have recovered, and 1,481 people have died - 76 of whom are healthcare workers. 115,968 people out of a population of 37.6 million have been tested. The majority of the recorded deaths were men between the ages of 50 and 79. Men also account for almost 70 per cent of the total COVID-19 confirmed cases in the MOPH data, although this may be the result of over-representation of men in testing. Due to limited public health resources and testing capacity, as well as the absence of a national death register, confirmed cases of and deaths from COVID-19 are likely to be under-reported overall in Afghanistan. WHO warns that widespread complacency and failure to follow public health advice is creating grave risks in the community with people generally not observing physical distancing protocols.
Second Wave: With a fragile health system, a developing economy and underlying vulnerabilities, the people of Afghanistan are facing extreme consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. While data suggests that the first wave seemed to peak in June, a new rise in cases is being closely monitored. WHO is warning that the second wave of COVID-19 may be deadlier than the first if people do not follow health advice. This dangerous second wave of the virus comes at a time of increased conflict and political uncertainty and reduced community adherence to prevention measures. Limited access to water and sanitation for good hygiene, widespread food insecurity and high rates of malnutrition are all additional complicating factors for Afghanistan. Resourcing community engagement, surveillance, and contact tracing remains critical to supporting the COVID-19 response. Health partners are continuing to see lower numbers of patients at fixed health and nutrition facilities due to people’s fear of catching the virus and have been delivering programmed via mobile teams wherever possible.
Socio-economic impacts: The socio-economic impacts of COVId-19 are translating into a dramatic impact in food insecurity with levels now similar to those seen during the 2018 drought. An estimated 14.7 million people are in acute food insecurity from August to October 2020. Looking forward, 17m people are in crisis or emergency food insecurity from November to March, 5.5 million of whom are in ‘emergency’ level food insecurity (IPC 4). According to WFP’s market monitoring, the average wheat flour price (low price and high price) increased by 9 per cent between 14 March and 14 October, while the cost of pulses, sugar, cooking oil and rice (low quality) increased by 25 per cent, 18 per cent, 26 per cent, and 19 per cent, respectively, over the same period. This price increase is accompanied by a declining purchasing power of casual labourers and pastoralists – which have deteriorated by over 7 per cent and 11 per cent respectively (compared to 14 March).
Ongoing needs: While implementing activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, humanitarian partners also continue to respond to other ongoing and emerging humanitarian needs. During the reporting period, 14,533 women received antenatal and postnatal care through midwives deployed in Mobile Health Teams (MHTs). 3,532 people were treated for trauma care and 2,342 children under the age of 5 years received routine immunisation through MHTs. 6,669 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 33,027 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). 2,080 nutritionally at-risk children under the age of 5 years received blanket supplementary feeding. 17,724 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) received assistance through targeted supplementary feeding programmes (TSFP), while 1,281 nutritionally at-risk PLWs also received blanket supplementary food. 26,503 caregivers received Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and maternal counselling during the reporting period, while 12,183 community members received Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) counselling. 175 Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases across 5 provinces were identified and referred to Family Protection Centres (FPCs) for case management. 3,042 dignity kits were distributed to women and girls across Hirat, Balkh and Badghis provinces. 12 children and adolescents with COVID-19 related protection needs were supported with case management through referrals to multisector services in Nangarhar provinces. As part of its regular programming, WFP distributed 10,931 metric tons (mt) of food between 10 September and 7 October.0F * Humanitarian partners are also mobilising to respond to needs in southern Afghanistan where an estimated 35,000 people have been displaced by conflict and there has been a surge in trauma cases.
Ongoing fighting has also forced the closure of a number of health facilities, interrupting access to critical health services for more than 38,000 people. Assessment teams are currently verifying the immediate needs of affected families and mobilising assistance.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.