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Afghanistan: COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Response Operational Situation Report, 29 July 2020

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This report is produced by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners via clusters. It covers activities carried out between 20 and 26 July 2020. *The next Operational Situation Report will be issued on August 12th and will cover a two-week period.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As of 29 July, 36,471 people in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19; 1,271 have died and 25,389 have recovered.

  • Since the start of March, partners have medically screened 491,342 people at points-of-entry, delivered WASH assistance to more than 2.2 million people and reached 218,222 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 29 July, 36,471 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 25,389 people have recovered, and 1,271 people have died (53 of whom are healthcare workers). 88,199 people out of the population of 37.6 million have been tested. 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 more than 38 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths. Moreover, men account for more than 71 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, Kandahar, Balkh and Paktya provinces. Modelling suggests the peak has not yet passed and cases may still accelerate over the coming weeks.

The Government of Afghanistan’s nationwide lockdown measures remain in place. 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. In the second quarter of 2020, the Humanitarian Access Group (HAG) recorded a total of 227 incidents impacting access of humanitarians, compared to 193 in the first quarter of 2020. According to the Q2 Access Report, while the high incident numbers in March and April 2020 can be explained by government-imposed lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 (which led to 29 and 31 movement restrictions respectively), the high incident numbers in May were no longer directly linked to COVID-19, but rather stemmed from interference attempts and conflict activity.
In coordination with the Afghanistan Protection Cluster, the independent think tank Samuel Hall recently published a new report on community knowledge, attitudes and practices around COVID-19 in Afghanistan. Among other things, the report highlights gendered concerns and understandings around COVID-19, the prevalence of dangerous misconceptions around how the virus spreads, and the negative consequences of COVID-19 on affected communities. According to the report, women were slightly more concerned about COVID-19 and its impact, and likely to rely on family for information. They more frequently reported negative psychosocial symptoms for themselves and their children. The gendered impact is aligned with worldwide findings on COVID-19. Moreover, dangerous misconceptions persist around how the virus spreads and what people should do if they fall ill. This remains the case despite widespread awareness of COVID-19’s frequent symptoms, even in rural areas. In terms of food security, the report found that most households (74 per cent) have reduced the quantity or quality of food in the past two weeks. Nine in ten people reported negative economic impacts of COVID-19 and remittances have decreased among those who reported them. Finally, psychosocial symptoms were common among respondents. Only 12 per cent of respondents reported that they had experienced no negative PSS symptoms. The full report and its follow on recommendations can be found here.

While implementing activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, humanitarians continue to respond to other ongoing and emerging humanitarian needs. During the reporting period, ES-NFI Cluster partners identified 272 conflict-affected IDP families in the centre and south of the country to receive NFI assistance. 52,041 women received antenatal and postnatal care from midwives deployed through Mobile Health Teams (MHTs). 4,242 people were treated for trauma care by Health Cluster partners. 624 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and 38,630 children aged 6-59 months received treatment for Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). 18,900 children under the age of 5 years received blanket supplementary feeding. 18,600 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) received assistance through targeted supplementary feeding programmes (TSFP), while 5,736 caregivers received Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and maternal counselling during the reporting period. 609 community members received Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) counselling. 99 Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases across 6 provinces were identified and referred for case management to Family Protection Centres (FPCs). 29 children with protection needs were referred to multi-sector services in Balkh, Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan provinces. 52 unaccompanied and separated boys without parental care were reunified with their families in Hirat province by protection partners. 249 people received integrated case management services across 5 provinces. 77 dignity kits were distributed to women and girls across 5 provinces. As part of its regular programming, WFP distributed food to 285,349 food insecure people between 16 and 22 July* .

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