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Afghan Cabinet approves plan to ease Kabul lockdown

Afghan Cabinet approves plan to ease Kabul lockdown

Kabul, The Afghan cabinet has approved a plan to gradually ease the Kabul lockdown which will allow businesses to open for certain hours, while President Ashraf Ghani has urged citizens to stay in their homes during Eid, says the Presidential Palace.

Despite the limited testing capacity, the Public Health Ministry has reported an average of 500 new confirmed cases each day over the past week. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan is nearing 9,000, TOLO News reported on Thursday.

The lockdown began in Kabul in March, when the known positive cases in Afghanistan was around 400, but the more movement was restricted, the people mostly dependent on daily wages have been faced with a desperate situation--either go onto the streets and risk COVID-19 and arrest for violating the lockdown, or go hungry and fail to pay rent or cover other expenses.

Kabul governor Mohammad Yaqub Haidari said that poverty among families, as well as the arrival of Eid, has caused crowds to increase in the city.

"The situation is not normal. It is an emergency. The virus is spreading. We will ease the lockdown as the situation improves," hesaid.

"It is not poverty only that pushes people to go out of the house; some are going out to buy dry fruit while they can live without it," the deputy minister of public health, Wahid Majroh, told a press conference on Thursday.

Kabul residents criticized the government for indifference to their situation and to the lockdown.

"The government is happy to announce 500 or 600 (positive) cases a day because it cannot do more than this (for the people)," said a Kabul resident.

"A large number of people survive on daily wages. The government should make plans to support them," said another resident.

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