Afghans on high alert

The Citizen (KZN) - - Coronaviru­s -

Kabul – Afghan health au­thor­i­ties are es­tab­lish­ing iso­la­tion wards across the coun­try ahead of a po­ten­tial in­flux of coro­n­avirus cases, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, as gov­ern­ments world­wide mon­i­tor the disease’s spread.

No cases have been recorded in Afghanista­n so far and the wartorn coun­try’s health ser­vices have set up screen­ing units at air­ports and bor­ders, Public Health Min­is­ter Ferozud­din Feroz said.

“We have put se­ri­ous mea­sures in place,” Feroz told re­porters.

He said that in Kabul, au­thor­i­ties have cre­ated a 100-bed iso­la­tion ward, and another 200 or so beds will be made avail­able across the coun­try in Afghanista­n’s creak­ing hos­pi­tals.

Feroz said 262 peo­ple – in­clud­ing 233 Afghans – who flew into Kabul’s air­port from China dur­ing the past week had all been screened and health of­fi­cials have re­mained in con­tact with them to check on their health.

About 40 Afghan stu­dents are in Wuhan, the epi­cen­tre of the coro­n­avirus out­break in neigh­bour­ing China. Feroz said the Afghan gov­ern­ment had a char­tered plane at the ready to bring them home if needed.

Coro­n­avirus is sim­i­lar to the Sars pathogen and has killed more than 300 peo­ple in China and spread around the world since emerg­ing in Wuhan.

Yes­ter­day, China’s Na­tional Health Com­mis­sion said more than 14 000 peo­ple have been in­fected by the novel coro­n­avirus.

Out­side main­land China, there have been more than 100 in­fec­tions re­ported in more than 20 coun­tries.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion has de­clared an in­ter­na­tional emer­gency over the out­break. – AFP

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