The Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan confirmed Saturday three more positive cases of Coronavirus in western Herat province.
Firozuddin Firoz, the Minister of Public Health, besides warning Afghans, urged people, media, scholars, and healthcare services to help fight against coronavirus.
President Ghani also, inaugurating the new year of the Afghan parliament, said that if the outbreak of coronavirus accelerated, the government would plan a national budget and present it to the parliament to pass it.
Moreover, Firozuddin Firoz warned that Herat was on alert, and the officials should not allow mass gatherings. He also underlined that 20,000 coronavirus test kits would be put to service in no time.
Abdul Qayom Rahimi, governor of Herat, insisted that precautions had been taken to stop the outbreak of the deadly virus and diagnose the infected people.
On the other hand, a member of the Herat Provincial Council talked about the insufficient budget given to fight the coronavirus. Dr. Mahdi Hadid said if a sufficient budget was not sent to Herat, the province would go into crisis.
Although some public property owners have been already warned not to open to visitors, local officials have been launching ceremonies and some offices are open to the crowd.
Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the Ministry on Public Health told Ariana News that three of the suspected cases were tested positive of the virus.
He added the two of infections had recently returned from neighboring Iran – where the death toll for the novel coronavirus surpassed 120 people with a total of 4,747 infections – and the other had contracted with infected people.
It comes as the total cases of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, jumped to four in Afghanistan, while dozens of possible inflected cases are under-diagnosis.
IEA confirms death of five MoD employees in Herat attack
The Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) confirmed Thursday that five employees of the 207th Al-Farooq Corps in Herat were killed in an attack.
The ministry said that the employees were killed and several others were injured as a result of an attack by unknown gunmen who targeted a Coaster mini bus carrying medical personnel from the Corps.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for this attack.
On Thursday morning, local sources said that armed men attacked the vehicle carrying the employees of Al-Farooq military corps from inside a rickshaw in Joy Injil area of Herat city.
The IEA’s Ministry of Defense has said that the enemy cannot “weaken the determination of defense employees and personnel” by launching such attacks. The ministry has said that it will suppress the enemies.
Girls put artworks on display at Herat exhibition
A group of nearly a dozen young girls have showcased 105 artworks including paintings and calligraphies in an exhibition in Herat province.
The exhibition has been held on the occasion of teachers’ day.
The organizers said that by holding the exhibition they wanted to highlight the significance of the art of painting and showcasing girls’ talents.
“We launched the exhibition on the occasion of teachers’ day. Although the schools are closed, we still care about our teachers and education. This is a message to the government that we, the Afghan girls, will continue to enhance our skills under any circumstances,” said Alnaz Frotan, an artist.
The artworks at the exhibition each carries a specific message, and local officials welcomed holding of the exhibition “Painting and calligraphy are among the valuable and historical arts of the ancient Herat. It is the duty of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to help the arts,” said Naeem-ul-Haq Haqqani, Herat’s director of information and culture.
The artists said that there are some restrictions, but their work hasn’t been affected.
“Although there are some restrictions, but our art continues like how it was in the past. We will never stop, but will work like in the past and create artworks,” said Kawsar Omar, an artist.
“We showcased some Islamic artworks, including calligraphies and modern paintings. All the artists are girls. We want to motivate girls to have such achievements in existing circumstances,” said Saeqa Jamshidi, an artist.
Several arts exhibitions have been held in Herat in recent months. Artists call on government to help their artworks get international exposure.
Virtue and Vice Ministry reject claims of ordering gender segregation in restaurants
The Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has rejected claims that orders were given to restaurants in Herat to separate male and female patrons.
This comes after reports emerged recently that officials from the provincial department of promotion of virtue and prevention of vice visited restaurants and instructed owners to separate patrons according to their gender.
However, Herat officials said this was a misunderstanding and that segregation is not being enforced and that families can eat together in restaurants and spend time together in parks.
One restaurant manager in Herat, Basir Ahmad Ahmadi, said: “When families came, we had to tell the family to sit apart … and when we told the families, they said they would go home to eat.”
Jawad Tawangar, an employee at one restaurant in Herat, said: “Fortunately, after the Ministry of Virtue and Vice responded in Kabul, the issue of restrictions has returned to normal and restaurants can allow families to eat together again.”
The spokesman for the ministry, Akef Mahajer, meanwhile said no one has the right to prevent families from walking in public together.
Mahajer: “Our compatriots can go to a hotel and restaurant with their families and have tea or go shopping with their families. The reports of segregation were untrue.”
Herat officials also said no order to this effect has been issued and that families can visit restaurants together.
Naeem ul-Haq Haqqani, Herat’s director of information and culture, said: “We reject [the reports of segregation] completely and it is not true.”
“Sitting around a table and eating with the family is not a problem from the Islamic point of view, nor from the custom of the community, but it can be useful for encouraging families and for getting more involved in the community,” said Negina Barak, a resident of Herat.
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