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25 Mar 2020 | 08:05 AM UTC

Afghanistan: Authorities confirm 79 COVID-19 cases as of March 25 /update 2

Local health authorities confirm 79 COVID-19 cases in the country as of March 25; take precautions against disease

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AFG

Event

On Wednesday, March 25, local health authorities confirmed 79 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Afghanistan, including two associated fatalities. Media sources indicate that four foreign troops based in the country have been diagnosed with the virus.

The National Security Council of Afghanistan has announced that all travel to and from Iran has been temporarily banned and point of entry screening has been introduced at three international airports and 11 international crossings. Those who show a temperature of more than 38°C (100.4°F) may be sent to one of two national hospitals or five provincial hospitals for isolation.

Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 30 countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.