The testing for the coronavirus temporally stopped in the western province of Herat where the first case of the virus was reported, officials said, adding that it is due to lack of kits.
This is the second province after Balkh where the COVID-19 tests have halted because of a lack of required equipment.
Afghanistan has seven labs testing for the coronavirus: two in Kabul, and one in Herat, Kandahar, Balkh and Nangarhar. Each center covers its neighboring provinces.
The head of Herat's public health directorate, Mohammad Rafiq Shirzai, said hundreds of people are visiting the COVID-19 center on a daily basis but their samples cannot be processed because of the lack of required kits.
“The required kits have been requested from the Public Health Ministry,” but so far they have not been sent, said Shirzai.
Figures by the Ministry of Public Health indicate that so far up to 6,000 samples have been tested and 996 of them have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 63 new cases reported on Sunday.
In Kabul, meanwhile, the testing center has stopped taking samples as it is overloaded with a backlog of samples from previous days, according to officials.
On Saturday, the Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz said the COVID-19 testing centers are faced with a shortage of RNA extraction supplies –the standard available test--which poses a new challenge in the effort to fight the coronavirus.
Other parts of the world are also faced with such a problem, the minister said, adding that there are 40,000 testing kits--used to gather samples--but a low number of RNA extraction kits, which are necessary for the lab to evaluate the samples.
“They are scarce globally,” Feroz said, referring to RNA extraction kits, adding “we have testing kits for 50,000 to 60,000 people but the RNA extraction kits are not enough.”