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COVID-19 Epidemiological Bulletin, Afghanistan - Epidemiological Week 16 (17 – 23 Apr 2022)

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Highlights of the week

Since the beginning of the pandemic in Feb 2020, a total of 575,211 samples have been tested for COVID-19 through the public laboratories in the country.

In week16-2022, 3,713 samples were tested in public labs, of which 266 samples tested positive for COVID-19 (percent positivity 7) and 4 new deaths were reported. This represents 1% decrease in cases and 100% increase in deaths, compared to week 15 2022, respectively (Table 1). Cumulatively, 178,689 confirmed cases (overall percent positivity 31.0) of COVID-19 with 7,682 associated deaths (case fatality ratio = 4.29%) have been reported in Afghanistan since Feb 2020.

In week 16, 2022, the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases were reported in the East and Northeast regions (74 and 52 cases, respectively) (Table 2). The top five provinces that reported positive cases included Nangarhar (43 cases), Kunduz (27 cases), Kabul (23 cases), Nimroz (16 cases), and Laghman (15 cases).

The WHO supported building the in-country capacity for genome sequencing, after training of two national staff on sequencing techniques in Dubai (December 2021). The WHO supported the procurement of the Oxford Nanopore Sequencer with the reagents sequencing for COVID-19, with a plan to expand it to include other high-threat pathogens. The team is currently working on processing the COVID-19 samples for sequencing, the results will be shared when available.

Overall, Afghanistan has reported 4,758 confirmed cases and 97 associated deaths among healthcare workers (HCWs) since 2020. To date, Herat, Kabul, Nangarhar, Balkh and Kunar reported the highest number of positive cases among HCWs.