The Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, Sayed Husain Alemi Balkhi, on Sunday said that at least 10 Afghan refugees have been killed due to the new coronavirus infection in Iran, but added that there isn’t an exact figure about the number of the refugees who are infected with Covid-19.
The minister said that at least 15,000 Afghan refugees are returning to Afghanistan from Iran on a daily basis.
The refugees minister was summoned to the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, along with Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz to discuss ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
“Information is not provided as required, but so far we have found that at least 10 people have died of the coronavirus in Iran,” Balkhi said, referring to Afghan refugees.
“Those who return to the country are traveling to other provinces and I think we will have a different situation by the end of this month,” said Fraidoon Barikzai, deputy minister of borders and tribal affairs.
The public health minister said the parliament should be closed for a period of time.
“We can provide as much financial support to Herat as possible,” Feroz said.
“The United Arab Emirates is ready to help,” acting Foreign Minister Haroon Chakhansuri said.
Lawmakers insisted on more efforts to fight the coronavirus and prevent panic among the people.
“There is no testing kit for the coronavirus available at the Ministry of Public Health,” said Ghulam Farooq Majroh, an MP.
“The lawmakers who have returned from Iran’s Qom should be quarantined and they should not be allowed to enter the house,” said Yarbaz Hamidi, an MP.
The speaker of the house, Mir Rahman Rahmani, said there are rumors about some members of the Afghan parliament being infected with the coronavirus. But he insisted that MPs should travel to their own provinces and help the people there, raising their awareness.
“We have a responsibility towards the parliament,” Rahmani said. “Lawmakers should quarantine themselves at least for two to three weeks.”
As of Sunday, 16 people were tested positive with COVID-19 in Afghanistan, according to the Ministry of Public Health.