Afghanistan + 2 more

Afghanistan Flash Update: Daily Brief: COVID-19, No. 59 (5 July 2020)

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Key Messages:

  • People confirmed to have COVID-19: 32,951 (as of 2pm, 5 July. Source: Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health - MoPH)

  • Deaths from COVID-19: 864

  • Samples tested: 75,747

Key concerns: Border crossing areas, in-country testing capacity, protective equipment for frontline workers, commodity prices, messaging and rumour management, international air services

Situation Overview:

MoPH data shows that 32,951 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan are now confirmed to have COVID19. Some 19,366 people have recovered and 864 people have died (26 of whom are healthcare workers). 75,747 people out of a population of 37.6 million have been tested. More than five per cent of the total confirmed COVID19 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 about 52 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths. With a fragile health system, a developing economy and underlying vulnerabilities, the people of Afghanistan are facing extreme consequences from the COVID19 pandemic. 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. Different COVID-19 models show that the peak for the COVID-19 outbreak in Afghanistan is expected between late July and early August, creating grave implications for Afghanistan’s economy and 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. According to the INFORM COVID-19 Risk Index, Afghanistan has an INFORM COVID-19 Risk Index of 6.8, the fifth highest risk country out of 190 profiled, and shows high health and humanitarian impacts risks that could overwhelm current national response capacity.

Hospitals report challenges maintaining or expanding their facilities’ capacity to treat patients with COVID-19. These challenges are related to the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits and medical supplies and the limited number of trained staff – further exacerbated by the number of frontline staff falling ill. Humanitarian partners urge the Government of Afghanistan to ensure healthcare staff have adequate personal protection and to share distribution plans for existing stocks of medical equipment and PPE with humanitarian partners. Current laboratory capacity in Afghanistan remains limited. There is an urgent need to increase laboratory supplies as well as to strengthen human capacity and operational support.

WHO notes that when health systems are overwhelmed, both direct mortality from the outbreak and indirect mortality from vaccine-preventable and treatable conditions increase dramatically, as is being seen in Afghanistan. WHO stresses the need to balance the demands of responding directly to COVID-19, with simultaneously engaging in strategic planning and coordinated action to maintain essential health service delivery, mitigating the risk of system collapse.

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