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18 Apr 2020 | 08:20 AM UTC

Afghanistan: Government announce three-week lockdown extension from April 16 /update 4

Afghan government extends lockdown measures in Kabul for three weeks as of April 16 due to COVID-19; follow government directives

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Event

On Thursday, April 16, the Afghan government announced a three-week extension of the lockdown measures implemented in Kabul Province in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. Lockdown measures include a ban on inter-city travel and a reduction of all non-essential services. Government employees and those working in the health, food, telecommunications, and media sectors are exempted from the restrictions, alongside those shopping for basic necessities.

Previously, on Wednesday, April 15, authorities in Kabul announced an indefinite ban on motorcycle use in the city. Security forces registered a sharp uptick in crime and murders committed using motorbikes in the capital since the lockdown was instituted earlier in March, sparking the ban.

Herat, near the border with Iran, and Kabul have become Afghanistan's COVID-19 outbreak epicenters.

As of Saturday, April 18, there are 933 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 30 related deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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 numerous 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 trouble 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.