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US locks down Kabul embassy amid Covid surge Afghanistan COVID19
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

US locks down Kabul embassy amid Covid surge

South Asia Monitor/IBNS | @indiablooms | 19 Jun 2021, 10:49 am

Kabul: Amid a rising Covid-19 surge in Afghanistan, especially in capital Kabul, the US embassy has ordered a near-complete lockdown. At least one embassy staffer succumbed to the Covid-19, 114 are in isolation and several have been evacuated on medical grounds, according to US newswires.

Almost all group activities, including work meetings and recreational gatherings, are banned because intensive care units at military medical facilities in Afghanistan are at full capacity, a notice from the embassy to its staff reads. Temporary wards are being set up in the wake of growing cases.

“We must break the chain of transmission to protect one another and ensure the mission’s ability to carry out the nation’s business,” acting US ambassador Ross Wilson was quoted as saying by the Associated Press in the notice. “Restrictions will continue until the chain of transmission is broken.”

Afghanistan has been reporting over 1500 daily cases and 100 deaths. The number of total daily tests remained miserably low, around 4500, with an average positivity rate of over 30 percent. 

The notice also warned that violators would be removed from the embassy and sent to the US on the next available flight.

Almost 95 percent of people in the embassy who contracted the virus were not fully vaccinated, the notification read, requesting people who have not yet receive their doses to get vaccines available in the embassy.

A few days back, the embassy had also suspended all works on visa applications, dashing the hope of thousands of Afghans seeking their way out of the country citing threat perception. Almost 18,000 visa applications of Afghans are still pending with the embassy.