A lack of test kits at the only COVID-19 testing center in Herat causes patients to wait for days to see their results, according to Herat Provincial Council members.
From the total 555 confirmed cases, almost half of them are from Herat, where the first positive case of the coronavirus was reported, which was a man who had returned from Iran in February.
The province has one testing center and three hospitals-- two of them for patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19--according to local officials.
“I came here yesterday (Friday), too. I was told that they cannot get a sample from me as their kits were finished. I am once again here today. I hear the same from them (hospital employees),” said Taha Sahibzada, a Herat resident who visited the Herat regional hospital on Saturday.
“I have come to this hospital and they told me that their kits were finished,” another Herat resident Mohammad Daud said.
The residents said hundreds of people are visiting the Herat testing center on a daily basis.
“The main challenge faced by Herat is the capacity of testing on a daily basis. Visitors are numerous. This has affected the actual number of COVID-19 patients and has meant that more people are not heeding the lockdown,” said Mahdi Hadid, member of the Herat Provincial Council.
According to Herat's public health directorate, the coronavirus testing center in the province was closed for two days over the lack of required supplies.
“Testing of almost 300 samples was delayed during the two-day break but the process resumed after kits were received,” said Mohammad Rafiq Shirzai, a spokesman at Herat's regional hospital.
The Herat testing center has the capacity of 140 tests a day, according to health officials. Samples from other provinces, including Ghor, Farah, Badghis and Nimroz are also brought to this center for testing.