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Coronavirus live news: soldiers sent to southern Italian town amid tension over new outbreak

Coronavirus lockdowns have led to a rise in violence against women in Afghanistan.

It comes as the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections has reached 30,000, amid lack of testing capacity and shortage of compressed oxygen with four new Polio cases also confirmed.

The Afghan attorney general’s office said Thursday that 1,173 cases of violence against women and 832 of child abuses have been taken place in the first six months of 2020. Most cases (339) were in the capital of Kabul, while the western Herat province reported 94 cases.

Sina Shena Mansour, deputy attorney for Violence Against Women and Children, said the department had registered 249 cases of women getting physically assaulted during the Covid-19 lockdowns, when they were all at home.

“Men’s impatience has increased and we knew that violence would rise too, during the quarantine. Therefore, all of our offices were open for the people and we had recorded 249 cases of beatings during quarantine throughout Afghanistan,” Mansour said.

Jamshid Rasouli, spokesman for the attorney general said cases of violence against women include rape, physical assault, harassment, forced marriage, obstruction of the right to marry, forced isolation, and the preventing them from their right of inheritance.

He said 548 women were physically assaulted, 141 reported harassment and 121 were victims of rape.

Meanwhile, data collected by the International Rescue Committee shows “a much higher discrepancy” between male and female confirmed Covid-19 cases, compared with the global average, in many countries including Afghanistan. According to the committee 72% cases in the country are male and 28% are female.

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The Afghan health ministry has detected 276 new Covid-19 infections from 932 tests, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 30,451. The number of deaths has risen by 8 to 683.

The war-torn country, which has admitted it has a lack of testing capacity, has tested 69,558 suspected patients since the outbreak began. The number of recoveries has exceeded 10,000. Local media reported Covid-19 hospitals in the capital are struggling with shortage of compressed oxygen. Footage shows family members of patients clashing over balloons of oxygen outside a hospital in the capital.

The capital, Kabul, which has been the country’s worst affected area, in both number of deaths and transmissions, still leads new daily infections as most new cases (71) have been reported in the capital, Kabul has so far recorded 12,546 cases and 156 deaths.

The ministry also reported four new Polio cases on Thursday. It has raised concerns about the disease as vaccination campaigns have been paused for the last three months due to coronavirus pandemic. The health ministry detected 23 new Polio cases in the first six months of this year compared with 13 cases in the same period of 2019.


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