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Afghanistan faces humanitarian disaster as COVID-19 spreads undetected: IRC

01 Jun 2020 1TV News

Afghanistan faces humanitarian disaster as COVID-19 is rapidly spreading undetected throughout the country, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned on Monday.

Confirmed cases have increased by 674 percent in May, while the country's extremely low testing capacity means many more are going untested and undetected, the New York-based aid group said in a press release.

The Afghan Public Health Ministry has said they only have capacity to test 2,000 cases per day, yet, are receiving between 10,000 and 20,000 samples each day. That means between 80 and 90 percent of potential cases are not being tested, according to IRC statement.

The group also said that Afghanistan has one of the highest test positivity rates (40%)of all the countries where the IRC works, suggesting a high level of undetected population infection.

IRC called on the international community to work with Afghanistan to improve their testing capacity.

“Four decades of war has devastated the health care system in Afghanistan and left more than five million Afghans, especially women and children, living in fear of abuse, neglect, conflict, exploitation and violence," Vicki Aken, Afghanistan Country Director at the IRC, said. "The COVID-19 outbreak is making the already terrible situation much worse. Many health clinics do not have the proper protective gear to treat or refer COVID-19 patients and are turning away those showing signs and symptoms."

She said that economic impactof coronavirus has left almost 11 million people facing severe food insecurity, unsure of where their next meal will come from.

"It will take the country a long time to recover from this outbreak, even just to reach pre COVID-19 levels of need. But, with the right support, there is still time to save lives now," she said.

Afghanistan has confirmed 15,750 coronavirus infection cases, including 545 in the past 24 hours.

Original Link: http://www.1tvnews.af/en/news/afghanistan/42188-afghanistan-faces-humanitarian-disaster-as-covid-19-spreads-undetected-irc

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