The Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs (MoHIA) on Tuesday issued a Fatwa (religious statement) saying that people should hold their prayers at home in the areas where movements are restricted due to the spread of COVID-19.
The ministry says the congregational prayers, especially Friday and funeral prayers, have been temporarily halted in those areas under lockdown.
The ministry added that religion is not indifferent to such diseases, and mosque imams, after calling for prayers, must ask the people to pray in their homes.
“When the virus cannot be prevented from spreading in mosques--in such a case Muslims are excused from going to community prayers,” said Aminuddin Muzafari, Professional Deputy Minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases are rising, The Public Health Ministry reported on Tuesday evening that 21 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country in the last 24 hours (12 in Herat, 1 in Farah, 6 in Kabul, 1 in Ghazni, 1 in Baghlan and 1 in Paktika ). Total confirmed COVID-19 cases is now 196.
Officials at the Afghan-Japan hospital say that on a daily basis as many as 600 people come to be tested.
“Each day 600, 500, 400 come---even yesterday when it was raining 312 people came for a test,” said Murad Mamozai, acting head of the hospital.
"We brought our patients here and the first day after the test the hospital told us the test was negative, then we took our patient to the 300-bed police hospital and doctors did another test, and the results came back positive then,” said Ahmad Sharif, a patient's brother.
So far three COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in the Afghan-Japan hospital: one an employee of an embassy, one a woman working for Kabul Airport, and the third a military man.
Hospital officials say twelve of their tests were suspected, with eight of them now negative.
“I have been with the Iranian people for three days and now I am hospitalized because of possible COVID-19 infection,” said Enayatullah, who is suspected of being COVID-19 positive.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says the Afghan government and the Taliban must work immediately with the United Nations and other aid agencies to improve access to health care for millions of Afghan citizens.
"The spiraling COVID-19 crisis puts millions of Afghans at risk, yet Afghan officials are consumed with infighting and the Taliban with adversarial posturing," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. " The two sides need to work together with the UN and humanitarian agencies to ensure that aid reaches the whole country, or a dire situation will become catastrophic,"
Human Rights Watch said that the most vulnerable communities in Afghanistan include millions of internally displaced people and rural communities where health services are already very limited.