Covid-19 cases in Afghanistan surge to 714, IMF gives debt relief

ANI
Kabul, Kabol, Afghanistan Published: Apr 14, 2020, 02:48 PM(IST)

Men wearing facemasks as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus walk past a wall painted with images of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R), in Kabul April 5, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )

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At least 40 people have recovered from the virus in the country while 23 have succumbed to the highly contagious infection, the Health Ministry spokesman said.

The Afghan Health Ministry said that 49 new COVID-19 cases have been registered in the country in the past 24 hours, which led the total cases surge to 714 on Tuesday.

Kabul registered 18 new cases, maximum highest in the country, leaving behind Kandahar with 15 cases, Balkh 6 cases, Herat and Ghazni 4 new cases each, and Nangarhar 2 cases, according to the health ministry's data cited by Tolo News.

At least 40 people have recovered from the virus in the country while 23 have succumbed to the highly contagious infection, the Health Ministry spokesman said.

In the meantime, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board approved immediate debt relief for 25 countries--including Afghanistan--in order to help these countries focus on COVID-19 response.

"Today, I am pleased to say that our Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF's member countries under the IMF's revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund's response to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, said in a statement.

"This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts," she added.

The IMF noted that the CCRT can currently provide about USD 500 million in grant-based debt service relief, including the recent USD 185 million pledge by Britain and USD 100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources. While others, including China and the Netherlands, are also stepping forward with important contributions.

"I urge other donors to help us replenish the Trust's resources and boost further our ability to provide additional debt service relief for a full two years to our poorest member countries," Georgieva said further.

The countries receiving relief include Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo, and Yemen.

The number of victims of the COVID-19 disease globally has reached more than 119,686, and nearly 1.9 million more have been infected with the virus, according to the compilations of US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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