Random coronavirus testing indicates nearly a third of Kabul could be infected

Tim O'Donnell

Some countries have been receiving relatively good news about their coronavirus epidemics — Spain for instance is easing restrictions thanks to a dwindling case load, and Madrid just reported its lowest one-day death increase since March 18. South Korea, meanwhile, reported only 13 new cases Sunday, and is getting prepared to rollback some elements of its lockdown, as well. But those positive steps are far from a global trend.

India and Russia both reported record daily infections, while deaths continue to climb in the United States and the United Kingdom. One country that has people particularly worried is Afghanistan, where the health ministry revealed Sunday that a small study indicates about a third of Kabul's residents could be infected with COVID-19. The study involved 500 random COVID-19 tests that resulted in 156 positives. Overall, Afghanistan has taken close to 12,000 samples, with 2,700 coming back positive.

The latest news has officials worried the disease is spreading more rapidly than originally thought. Afghanistan has long been seen as a country vulnerable to the pandemic, especially as the government and the Taliban struggle to broker a peace deal to end their violent, decades-long conflict. Kabul and other cities in the country are on lockdown.

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