KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. Embassy in Kabul went into lockdown on Thursday, citing a surge in coronavirus instances that has swamped the medical amenities that stay open to American diplomats because the U.S. navy and worldwide forces depart the nation.
“Military hospital I.C.U. resources are at full capacity, forcing our health units to create temporary on-compound Covid-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients,” the embassy stated in a administration discover launched on Thursday.
The discover stated that one individual related to the embassy had died, a number of had been medically evacuated and 114 individuals had been contaminated and in isolation. The doc stated that 95 p.c of the present instances had been in individuals who had been “unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated,” although vaccines had been obtainable on the embassy. It famous that 90 p.c of the Afghans and folks from different international locations on the embassy workers had been vaccinated.
In Washington, the State Department’s spokesman, Ned Price, stated the embassy couldn’t require its workers to be vaccinated and confirmed that almost the entire instances in this “significant outbreak” had been amongst those that weren’t totally immunized. He stated that Covid vaccines had been made obtainable to the Kabul embassy staff during the last a number of months.
Embassy operations have been adjusted as a results of the outbreak, Mr. Price stated, with workers required to make money working from home and take all crucial 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. navy forces in Afghanistan contended with an earlier coronavirus outbreak, one which paralyzed the advising mission for the Afghan navy and prompted a lockdown of the diplomatic mission.
The discover on Thursday warned that “failure to abide by the Mission’s Covid policies will result in consequences up to and including removal from the post on the next available flight.”
The embassy suspended issuing visas final week as a result of of a surge of coronavirus cases in Afghanistan. The seemingly minor resolution has had a important influence on Afghans who’ve labored for the U.S. navy and authorities and who’re desperately attempting to finish their visa course of to allow them to to migrate to the United States.
Many 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 navy forces. President Biden introduced in April that each 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, probably the most in a single day for the reason that starting of the pandemic. Overall, 98,844 instances have been reported in the nation.
However, these official figures mirror 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 combating and roadside bombs.