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Coronavirus cases surge above 100 in Afghanistan

Authorities in landlocked country bordering Iran lock down capital Kabul

Shadi Khan Saif   | 28.03.2020
Coronavirus cases surge above 100 in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan 

Afghanistan announced on Saturday that the number of cases of the novel coronavirus in the country reached 110 as the capital Kabul entered its first day of lockdown to contain the virus.

Health Ministry spokesman Waheedullah Mayar told a press conference that with the confirmation of more cases in the past 24 hours, Afghanistan now has 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with five deaths so far.

"We can today confirm 15 new cases with 11 from Herat, three from Farah and one from Ghazni from with which out of 1,019 samples tested so far, 106 have emerged positive [...] the good news is five patients in total have recovered after treatment," he said.

As per officials, an overwhelming majority of cases are linked to neighboring Iran amid the sudden return of thousands of refugees.

Earlier this week, at least four service members of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan tested positive for the coronavirus.

Afghanistan on Friday declared a lockdown in the capital Kabul in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. All public and private offices and markets except supplying essential products remained closed until further notice.

Officials warned that the spread of the virus in the capital city would put over 5 million at risk.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 177 countries and territories.

The data shows over 607,900 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 28,600 and over 135,600 recoveries.

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