Afghanistan on Friday recorded 36 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic, the highest single-day toll, a day after the US Embassy in Kabul "strongly" advised its citizens to leave the country "as soon as possible."
According to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan, 36 COVID-19 patients lost their lives during the past 24 hours and 1,310 new infections were recorded.
With these new figures, the total number of infections surged to 77,963 and the number of deaths reached 3,104.
Acting Minister of Public Health Dr. Wahid Majroh said on Thursday, during the inauguration of a 100-bed dedicated facility for coronavirus patients in Kabul, that Afghanistan will witness the peak of the pandemic in the next two to four weeks, urging the people to take the ministry’s recommendations seriously.
“Days back, I said we were slowly entering a critical third phase, but today I warn that we have already entered that critical phase very quickly," the minister said, adding that a lack of oxygen in the country is one of the major challenges facing the health sector.
The ministry last month announced detecting the UK variant of the COVID-19 in the country. There have been no new variants reported since then.
US issues health alert for Afghanistan
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice and the Department of State has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Afghanistan.
According to the US Embassy in Kabul, new cases and deaths from COVID-19 have risen sharply throughout Afghanistan. “Hospitals are reporting shortages of supplies, oxygen, and beds for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related patients. US citizens have reported being denied admittance to hospitals due to lack of space," it said in a statement on Thursday, advising against all travel to Kabul due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
It added that commercial flight options from Hamid Karzai International Airport remained available and the US Embassy strongly suggested the US nationals leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Afghanistan closed down all educational institutions on May 29 due to a record number of COVID-19 cases.
In February, Afghanistan began the rollout of the Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine following the World Health Organization's emergency use approval. The country has so far received 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
The Afghan government has repeatedly called for more international support to vaccinate at least 20% of the estimated population of 38 million this year, and 60% by the end of 2022.