Tragedy unfolding as nation records 2400 per cent surge in Covid cases

·2-min read

The Covid-19 pandemic is spiralling out of control in Afghanistan, with cases rising 2400 per cent in the past month, hospitals filling up and medical resources quickly running out, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says.

More than a third of tests last week came back positive, the ICRC said.

"Afghanistan is at a crisis point in the battle to contain Covid-19 as hospital beds are full to capacity in the capital Kabul and in many areas," Nilab Mobarez, Acting President of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, said in a statement.

A man receives a coronavirus vaccination in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A man receives a coronavirus job at a vaccination centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. Source: AP

The surge was putting intense strain on a country where millions already live in poverty and health resources are scarce.

Health authorities on Thursday registered 2313 positive cases and a record 101 deaths from the virus in the preceding 24 hours.

Officials and experts have said low testing means those official figures are likely to be a dramatic under-count.

Afghanistan's fragile health system has been damaged by decades of war.

Violence has risen in recent months, with US-led foreign forces withdrawing by September and peace negotiations between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban largely stalled.

A graph showing a sharp spike of new Covid infections in June for Afghanistan.
Cases in Afghanistan have increased by 2400 per cent in the past month alone. Source: John Hopkins University

Major hospitals have closed their doors this week to new Covid-19 patients after an influx of cases left them with a lack of beds and oxygen shortages.

The ICRC warned that lack of vaccine access and hesitancy were exacerbating the situation. Fewer than 0.5 per cent of Afghans have been fully vaccinated.

Around 700,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine arrived in the country last week, allowing authorities to start the next round of its vaccination campaign.

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