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Random Testing in Kabul Shows 1 in 3 has Coronavirus

Health officials in Afghanistan say that fully one-third of the 500 people randomly tested recently in the capital Kabul were infected with coronavirus, eliciting concern that the relatively low reported incidence in the country is actually much higher. According to the Worldometer coronavirus tracker, Afghanistan reported just over 2,700 confirmed cases as of Sunday, meaning slightly less than 70 for each 1 million in population. Medical sources in the country said that 13 people had died from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 85. A Health Ministry official told the Associated Press that when wide-scale testing becomes possible, the infection figure will likely rise. So far, only 12,000 of the country’s 36 million people have been tested. According to the AP, there are only 400 ventilators in the country, highlighting a health system that is woefully unprepared to handle a pandemic. Infection also seems to carry a certain stigma in the country, with reports that neighbors are turning their backs on some of those who have tested positive, and reports of others who have been infected being denied food at local markets.