KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. Embassy in Kabul went into lockdown on Thursday, citing a surge in coronavirus instances that has swamped the medical services that stay open to American diplomats because the U.S. army and worldwide forces depart the nation.
“Navy hospital I.C.U. assets are at full capability, forcing our well being items to create non permanent on-compound Covid-19 wards to look after oxygen-dependent sufferers,” the embassy mentioned in a administration discover launched on Thursday.
The discover mentioned that one individual related to the embassy had died, a number of had been medically evacuated and 114 individuals have been contaminated and in isolation. The doc mentioned that 95 p.c of the present instances have been in individuals who have been “unvaccinated or not absolutely vaccinated,” though vaccines have been accessible on the embassy. It famous that 90 p.c of the Afghans and other people from different international locations on the embassy employees had been vaccinated.
In Washington, the State Division’s spokesman, Ned Worth, mentioned the embassy couldn’t require its staff to be vaccinated and confirmed that just about the entire instances on this “important outbreak” have been amongst those that weren’t absolutely immunized. He mentioned that Covid vaccines had been made accessible to the Kabul embassy staff over the past a number of months.
Embassy operations have been adjusted on account of the outbreak, Mr. Worth mentioned, with staff required to work at home and take all mandatory precautions, together with carrying masks and social distancing, as Afghanistan grapples with what he described as its third wave of coronavirus.
The embassy and U.S. army forces in Afghanistan contended with an earlier coronavirus outbreak, one which paralyzed the advising mission for the Afghan army and prompted a lockdown of the diplomatic mission.
The discover on Thursday warned that “failure to abide by the Mission’s Covid insurance policies will lead to penalties as much as and together with removing from the submit on the subsequent accessible flight.”
The embassy suspended issuing visas final week as a result of of a surge of coronavirus instances in Afghanistan. The seemingly minor choice has had a big affect on Afghans who’ve labored for the U.S. army and authorities and who’re desperately attempting to finish their visa course of to allow them to to migrate to the USA.
A lot of these candidates have been threatened by the Taliban, and the safety state of affairs in Afghanistan has been deteriorating amid the withdrawal of American and worldwide army forces. President Biden introduced in April that every one forces can be out by Sept. 11.
The Afghan ministry of public well being recorded greater than 2,000 new coronavirus instances on Thursday, together with 101 deaths, essentially the most in a single day because the starting of the pandemic. General, 98,844 instances have been reported within the nation.
Nevertheless, these official figures replicate solely a small fraction of the nation’s precise variety of infections and deaths. Testing is severely restricted, Afghanistan’s struggling well being system is nonexistent in some rural areas, and transportation to hospitals and clinics is usually restricted due to preventing and roadside bombs.