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Afghanistan Flash Update: Daily Brief: COVID-19, No. 14 (16 March 2020)

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Key Messages: UPDATED
• People confirmed to have COVID-19: 22 (12 new)
• People who are presumptive for COVID-19: 51
• People who have tested negative for COVID-19: 171
• Key concern: Border crossing areas in the country’s west
(Source: Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan)

Situation Overview: UPDATED

Globally, 169,387 people have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and 6,513 fatalities have been reported across 148 countries. The overall number of confirmed cases and fatalities outside China is now higher than in China. On 11 March, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. WHO reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities. The increasing spread of the virus from and within Italy, Iran, Spain, France, Germany and South Korea remains a concern. Travel restrictions by countries are changing rapidly and should be monitored on daily basis.

The first person to test positive for COVID-19 in Afghanistan was confirmed on 24 February by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). A total of 22 people are now confirmed to have the virus in Hirat (13), Badghis (1), Balkh (1), Daykundi (1), Loghar (2), Kapisa (1) and Samangan (3) provinces. Contact tracing for the people confirmed with COVID-19 is ongoing. The clinical condition of the people both confirmed and presumptive for the virus is considered good. One patient in Hirat has reportedly recovered and been discharged from the treatment facility. The people presumptive for COVID-19 are being kept in isolation wards while those confirmed for the virus are being treated in provincial hospitals. On 14 March, the Government of Afghanistan announced that all schools would be closed for an initial period of 4 weeks. It is reported that all public gatherings in Hirat have been banned until further notice and further advice is being given against public celebration of the Nawruz holiday in Mazar-e-Sharif.

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