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Afghanistan locks down capital Kabul amid COVID-19 fears

Health minister warns situation can get out of hands if people do not take coronavirus threat seriously

Shadi Khan Saif  | 27.03.2020 - Update : 27.03.2020
Afghanistan locks down capital Kabul amid COVID-19 fears

KABUL, Afghanistan

Authorities in Afghanistan on Friday declared a lockdown in the capital Kabul in an effort to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Announcing the details of the move, Waheed Umer, director general of Office of Public and Strategic Affairs, said the decision has been approved by the cabinet.

He was accompanied by Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi, Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz and other officials during a joint news conference in Kabul.

As per the move, all public and private offices, markets with exception of supplying essential products, will remain closed until further notice.

Officials warned spread of the virus in the capital city of over 5 million due to its central location for commuters from all over the country.

Andarabi said the regulations will be strictly enforced, while Feroz warned the situation could get out of hands if people did not take the threat seriously.

“If we remain idle and do nothing, millions of our countrymen would fall prey to this virus … we Afghans are very vulnerable to the virus due to shortage of vitamin D, malnutrition and other issues that we have,” he said.

Afghanistan has so far confirmed 94 cases of the virus with four deaths, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 176 countries and territories.

The data shows more than 542,000 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 24,360 and over 124,000 recoveries.

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