With a continuous surge in coronavirus cases in Afghanistan, authorities in the capital Kabul on Wednesday introduced stricter lockdown measures following non-compliance of earlier directives.
As per orders of the Interior Ministry, only government employees and a limited number of workers associated with essential services such as health, food, telecommunications and media would be allowed to leave their homes. The new directives are effective immediately until further notice.
“Hundreds of police personnel on patrol would enforce the lockdown and anyone violating it would be taken into custody,” the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, all residents were advised to stay home, and avoid non-essential movements and gatherings.
Positive cases in the landlocked country have surged to 423, according to health officials.
Deputy Minister for Public Health Fada Mohammad Peykan told a press conference on Tuesday that the death toll from the virus had reached 14, whereas 20 patients had recovered to date.
More than 3,000 suspected cases have been tested in the ministry’s laboratories so far, he added.
The deputy minister pointed out that among those infected, 91 of them had a history of traveling to countries affected by the virus that has claimed over 82,000 lives in 184 countries with 1.43 million confirmed cases globally.
Kabul is the worst affected after Herat province that borders Iran.