KABUL: Afghanistan’s government on Monday ordered a state of emergency in Herat province, which borders Iran, after one of its residents tested positive for coronavirus — the first case to be reported in the country.
Three elderly Afghan men were hospitalized on Sunday after displaying symptoms following their return from Iran five days ago.
“Their blood samples were sent for further testing in Kabul on Sunday, and one of them has been affected by coronavirus,” Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said on Monday.
He added that the infected individual has been placed under quarantine and is being treated by doctors at a health facility in Herat. The province, with a population of nearly 1 million, lies nearly 950 km from Kabul.
Under the state of emergency, Herat’s residents are required to restrict their movement outside their homes, stop traveling to other parts of the country and refrain from having visitors, Waheed Mayar, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, told Arab News on Monday.
Abdul Hakim Taman, head of Herat’s public health department, told Arab News: “We’re worried about the situation and the spread of coronavirus.”
Fearing the spread of the disease, the Afghan government on Sunday ordered the closure of the border with Iran.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have been living for decades as war refugees in Iran, and routinely visit the country for business or to visit family members.
Some of them use illegal routes to travel to Iran and back, making it difficult for authorities to detect cases of the virus. Iran is Afghanistan’s main trade partner.