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COVID-19

US embassy suspends all visa application process due to COVID

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(Last Updated On: June 12, 2021)

In response to the “intense third wave of COVID-19 cases throughout the country” the US Embassy in Kabul has suspended all visa application operations effective June 13 (Sunday), the embassy said in a statement Friday.

According to the statement, everyone “scheduled for appointments in the coming days will be contacted directly to reschedule as soon as visa operations resume.

The embassy stated that applicants do not need to contact the Embassy to reschedule and should not come to the Embassy.

“We acknowledge and regret the inconvenience to applicants as we seek to protect the health of our staff and applicants to ensure we can fully support visa and other consular services going forward,” the statement read.

The embassy also stated that the United States stands in solidarity with the Afghan government and the Ministry of Public Health as they work to take action to contain the spread of the virus and care for those who fall ill.

“We are saddened to hear of the deaths of esteemed and much valued Afghans who have passed away from COVID recently. We also grieve the passing of one of our own Embassy colleagues,” read their statement.

The embassy added that the United States government will continue to support efforts to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 in Afghanistan and that in the past year, USAID has provided more than $39 million to directly to help Afghanistan respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, expedited $90 million in other COVID-related development assistance through the World Bank, and reoriented other US assistance to support Afghan efforts to deal with the pandemic’s consequences.

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently announced more than $266 million in new humanitarian assistance to address the pressing needs of an estimated 18 million Afghans who are suffering due to COVID-19, hunger, and displacement, bringing total US humanitarian aid for Afghanistan to nearly $3.9 billion since 2002,” read the statement.

COVID-19

Universities to reopen once students and staff have been vaccinated

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday that the ministries of public health, higher education and education have agreed that class-based lectures for university and college students will gradually resume over the next two weeks.

The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) said that the first step will see all students and teaching staff get COVID-19 vaccines before classes resume.

“Class-based lessons will restart gradually at all institutions registered with the MoHE,” said Hamid Obaidi, spokesman for the MoHE adding that classes will first resume in provinces that have a low coronavirus infection rate.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said that school examinations will start during this solar month.

According to the ministry, a decision has yet to be made on resuming classroom lessons for school students.

“The examination process will take time because we want to hold exams in many shifts to avoid large gatherings,” said Najiba Arian, a spokeswoman for the MoE.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said that the impact of people having travelled around the country over Eid al-Adha will also determine the COVID-19 situation within the next week.

This comes after the MoPH reported 32 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across Afghanistan.

The MoPH said 203 new infections were registered in the mentioned time.

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COVID-19

Olympics-Athlete COVID-19 infections rise in Tokyo

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(Last Updated On: July 18, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers on Sunday reported three new cases of COVID-19 infection among athletes, up from one new case a day earlier, as the population of the athlete’s village swells ahead of the start of the pandemic-hit Games next week.

Organisers reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel, down from 15 on Saturday.

An International Olympic Committee member from South Korea tested positive for the coronavirus on landing in Tokyo. Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic athlete, is vaccinated, reflecting the infection risk even from vaccinated attendees.

Infection rates are climbing among the general population of the capital, topping 1,000 new cases for four consecutive days. Polls show many Japanese oppose holding the Games with the influx of overseas visitors it entails.

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First COVID case found at athletes’ village, stoking fears ahead of Olympics

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers said on Saturday a person has tested positive for COVID-19 at the athletes’ village, the first case at a site where most competitors will be staying, raising new doubts over promises of a “safe and secure” Games.

The organisers confirmed that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive during a routine test on Friday, Reuters reported.

The person’s nationality was not revealed due to privacy concerns.

The Summer Olympics are taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

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