Afghanistan + 2 more

Afghanistan: Strategic Situation Report: COVID-19, No. 62 (16 July 2020)

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Key Messages:

  • People confirmed to have COVID-19: 35,070 (as of 2pm, 16 July. Source: Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health - MoPH)

  • Deaths from COVID-19: 1,113

  • Samples tested: 82,352

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: UPDATED

MoPH data shows that 35,070 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan are now confirmed to have COVID-19. Some 22,824 people have recovered, and 1,113 people have died (54 of whom are healthcare workers). 82,352 people out of a population of 37.6 million have been tested. Almost 10 per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases are among healthcare staff. 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.

Hospitals and clinics continue to 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, as well as 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 continues to be an urgent need for increased laboratory supplies, as well as to strengthen human capacity and operational support.

WHO notes that when health systems are overwhelmed, as is being seen in Afghanistan, both direct mortality from the outbreak and indirect mortality from vaccine-preventable and treatable conditions increase dramatically. 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 against the risk of system collapse.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) recently conducted a joint rapid impact assessment of COVID-19 on agriculture production and markets in Afghanistan. According to the report, over 20 per cent of the consulted farmers are not able to plant their next crop, with lack of access to agriculture inputs and COVID-19 restrictions listed as key factors. Moreover, most wheat, fruit, vegetable and dairy processing plants are currently operating at partial/zero capacity, with COVID-19 restrictions listed as a key reason for the reduction in operations. The great majority of traders reported increased prices for wheat, fresh food, sheep/goat, cattle, and transport as compared to the same time last year. Provincial and national level fresh produce traders have faced more restrictions compared with district level traders, while a great majority of traders reported partial market closures due to COVID-19, according to the report. Finally, majority of Kuchis reported restrictions on the sale of their livestock, lack of access to adequate fodder and increased fodder prices. Close to one-third of Kuchis reported restrictions on their spring/summer stock movements due to COVID-19 containment measures.

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