World, Health, Asia - Pacific

Afghanistan confirms 1st case of coronavirus

Health authorities declare emergency in Herat province bordering Iran

Shadi Khan Saif   | 24.02.2020
Afghanistan confirms 1st case of coronavirus

KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan on Monday confirmed the first case of coronavirus.

Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz told a news conference in the capital Kabul that an emergency has been declared in the Herat province bordering Iran.

The victim is in stable condition and being kept in isolation, he added.

“We strongly suggest all Afghans to avoid unnecessary travel to Iran, physical contacts and congregations,” he said, as Iran reported a dozen deaths on Monday from the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Afghan authorities said they suspected three men, who had returned from Iran's Qom city, to be infected with the fatal virus.

They were kept in quarantine and their blood samples collected, which led to the subsequent detection of the virus.

The government has asked officials to launch a coronavirus control program with checkpoints at air ports, borders and dry ports, especially in the country's western provinces -- Herat, Nimroz and Farah -- which border Iran.

The coronavirus has sounded global alarm with China reporting 2,594 deaths from the outbreak on Monday and health experts grappling to find a cure.

Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

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