Coronavirus live news: New Zealand to trace 320 'close contacts' of virus pair who stopped to meet friends

The Afghan health ministry has detected 564 new Covid-19 infections, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 26,874. The number of deaths has risen by 13 to 504.

The war-torn country, which has admitted it has a lack of testing capacity, has tested 60,298 suspected patients since the outbreak began. There have been 6,158 recoveries.

Most of the new cases (192) have been reported in the capital, Kabul. It is the country’s worst-affected area so far, with 10,924 cases and 109 deaths.

Health officials in the southern province of Kandahar recorded 27 new cases out of 45 tests. The eastern province of Nangarhar recorded two deaths overnight, as 6 out of 8 tests came back positive.

No official figures were released in the western province of Herat for the fifth day straight. The province’s laboratory – which is responsible for testing samples of patients in Herat and nearby areas – has halted work due to a lack of kits.

The Afghan health ministry has previously said it was unable to increase testing for coronavirus due to a lack of laboratories and an overload of suspected patients. Ahmad Jawad Osmani, the acting health minister, said medical workers would determine new coronavirus patients through their symptoms, rather than through tests.

Meanwhile, violence continues to rage across the country. At least four children were killed and three others wounded in central Ghazni province on Tuesday, after a mortar round landed where they were playing.

The United Nations’ annual Children in Armed Conflict report, released on Monday, found Afghanistan was the deadliest country for children for the fifth year straight.

The study fond that more than 3,000 Afghan children were killed in 2019, mainly by ground fighting, improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks.


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