UN ramps up support to Afghanistan’s fight against COVID-19, records first worker case

3 Apr 2020

UN ramps up support to Afghanistan’s fight against COVID-19, records first worker case

KABUL - As the United Nations ramps up its support to Afghanistan’s government and people in the fight against COVID-19, the Organization today confirms that a national staff member in Herat tested positive for COVID-19.

Our colleague is the first UN worker in country to have tested positive. He is presenting mild symptoms and our hope is that he will soon be on the path to full recovery. In accordance with health guidelines, he is in isolation and contact tracing and case management is underway.

“All measures that can be taken are being taken to protect the health of our staff battling COVID-19 in Afghanistan,” said Ingrid Hayden, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. “At the same time, the UN family in Afghanistan is fully mobilized: supporting the government’s response to address this terrible threat.” Ms. Hayden is also the Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

UN agencies are backing the government’s preparedness, containment and mitigation measures. Extensive risk communication and community engagement is underway countrywide; four testing centres have opened in Kabul, Herat and Jalalabad, with several more starting in the coming days; 34,000 frontline health workers are carrying out disease surveillance; and the authorities working at the borders with Iran and Pakistan have been equipped to carry out their work in a safe manner. Local procurement of key relief such as soap has been expedited.  Also, yesterday, the World Bank approved a US$100.4 million grant for Afghanistan’s emergency response and health systems preparedness.

The UN remains committed to continue its work as a partner to Afghanistan’s government and its people during this new crisis which comes in addition to years of conflict, grinding poverty and climate change.