The confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reached 1,351 with 63 new cases reported on Friday amid a serious shortage of testing supplies and treatment equipment in the country’s health centers.
The Ministry of Public Health on Friday shared a list of 95 new cases (52 of which were already reported by TOLOnews on Thursday evening.)
Of the 95 cases, 53 were reported in Kandahar, 11 in Kabul, 10 in Takhar, 5 in Panjshir, 5 in Nangarhar, 3 in Herat, 2 in Farah, 1 in Laghman, 1 in Daikundi and 1 positive case was reported in Parwan.
In the last 24 hours, five patients recovered in Herat and four recovered in Kandahar, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 188.
Also, one death was reported in Kandahar, bringing the total number of deaths in Afghanistan to 43.
On Friday evening, the Balkh Public Health Directorate reported 21 new positive cases of the coronavirus in the province, taking the country's total to 1,351.
So far, according to the ministry data, 7,425 samples have been tested – including 339 samples tested on April 23.
The minister of public health has in many occasions vowed to increase the testing capacity to 1,000 to 2,000 tests a day, but daily reports from the ministry show that a maximum of only 600 samples are tested in 24 hours.
The public health minister last week said they are faced with lack of RNA extraction kits, which are the key to conducting a COVID-19 test.
The head of Kabul hospitals, Nizamuddin Jalil, said the curve of the virus is ascending and “the cases have increased compared to previous weeks.”
Meanwhile, officials from Afghan-Japan Hospital in Kabul said a patient suspected with the coronavirus died today before his test result was detected.
Doctors said there are 18 COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
“We call on the people to avoid unnecessary testing in order to provide the service for those who are eligible for a test,” said Mohammad Khan, a doctor in the hospital.
The Ministry of Public Health has faced criticism for lack of centers to collect samples from people with symptoms, or from those who want to be tested. Now, the ministry says over 20 centers have been established in different parts of Kabul for sample collection.
TOLOnews reporter Zahra Rahimi visited one of these centers at Rabia-e-Balkhi school in the west of Kabul, and said that according to doctors in the center, only one person has visited the center to give a sample in a week.
“We have questions that we ask visitors in order to make sure that the visitor is a suspect for the coronavirus. We have a six-member team,” said Islamuddin, a doctor.