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Afghanistan: COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Response Operational Situation Report, 20 August 2020

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Situation Report
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This report is produced by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners via clusters. It covers activities carried out between 10 and 16 August 2020.

HIGHLIGHTS

• As of 20 August, 37,759 people in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19; 1,383 have died and 27,316 have recovered.

• Since the start of March, partners have medically screened 494,895 people at points-of-entry, reached 83,508 children with home-based learning materials and reached 224,502 people with psychosocial support to cope with the mental health effects of COVID-19 across the country.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

MoPH data shows that as of 20 August, 37,759 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19.
Some 27,314 people have recovered, and 1,383 people have died (68 of whom are healthcare workers). 99,772 people out of the population of 37.6 million have been tested. Almost ten per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases are among healthcare staff.

The majority of the deaths were people between the ages of 40 and 69. Men in this age group represent 50 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths. Moreover, men account for more than 70 per cent of the total COVID-19 confirmed cases, however this may be the result of testing bias. Kabul remains the most affected part of the country in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Hirat, Balkh, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

Complacency and failure to follow public health advice is creating grave risks in the community with people generally not observing physical distancing protocols. Recent modelling on COVID-19 projections, developed by the Centre for Humanitarian Data in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and released on 12 August, suggests cases and deaths will continue to rise over the next four weeks. Modelling further suggests a significant increase in severe cases (potentially up to 4x the number) should current preventative measures be lifted, creating grave implications for Afghanistan’s economy and people’s well-being. The Government of Afghanistan’s nationwide lockdown measures remain in place. However according to reports, public health advice is not being followed and enforcement has been lenient.

Measures to contain the spread of the virus continue to differ across provinces where local authorities decide on implementation of lockdown measures.
Humanitarians remain concerned about the impact of extended lockdown measures and movement constraints on the mostvulnerable, particularly people with disabilities and families who rely on casual daily labour and lack alternative income sources. According to WFP’s market monitoring, the average wheat flour price (low price and high price) increased by 10 per cent between 14 March and 19 August, while the cost of pulses, sugar, cooking oil and rice (low quality) increased by 27 per cent, 21 per cent, 30 per cent, and 17 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 5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively (compared to 14 March).

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.