Lack of budget hinders COVID-19 response: MoPH

KABUL (TOLO News): The positive cases of COVID-19 reached 120 in Afghanistan after three people tested positive for the virus on Sunday, said Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz, who added that the cases are increasing and that his institution does not have access to the required budget to fight the pandemic.

Two of the new cases were in Herat while another was in Nimroz. Both provinces share borders with Iran where the coronavirus has killed thousands of people. Four members of NATO’s Resolute Support mission are also among those who have contracted the virus in Afghanistan.

“We have three deaths and five recovery cases,” Feroz said on Sunday. “Based on our plan, we might need $100 million while right now we have $18 million and it is nothing.”

Lawmakers also confirmed hurdles in the government’s campaign against the spread of the coronavirus.

“The Ministry of Public Health does not have the required facilities in access. More than 5,000 passengers and refugees are entering Herat from Iran on a daily basis and 1,000 to 2,000 others are entering Nimroz. There should be proper measures for these people,” said Najibullah Nasir, head of the health committee of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of the Afghan parliament.

“Based on our information, other areas are also faced with problems, and so far no attention has been paid to them,” said Jawed Safi, an MP.

As part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the government on Friday announced a three-week lockdown in Kabul.