US Embassy in Afghanistan closed due to strict lockdown amid COVID cases

US Embassy in Afghanistan closed due to strict lockdown amid COVID cases

The US Embassy in Afghanistan ordered a near-complete lockdown Thursday due to a huge spike in coronavirus cases among employees.

Already on uncertain footing because of the approaching withdrawal of yank forces from the country, the embassy in Kabul ordered remaining staffers into virtual isolation to stop the spread of Covid-19, which has already killed a minimum of one person, sent 114 into quarantine and made several people to be medically evacuated.

The embassy said during a notice to employees that nearly all group activities, including work meetings and recreational gatherings, are banned because medical care units at military medical facilities in Afghanistan are at full capacity and therefore the number of cases has forced it to determine temporary Covid-19 wards to worry for patients requiring oxygen.

It said the restrictions would remain in situ until the chain of transmission is broken. Violators are going to be faraway from the country on subsequent available flight. The notice said 95% of the cases involved people that haven't been vaccinated or fully vaccinated against the virus and urged all staff to require advantage of obtainable vaccines at the embassy.

“We must break the chain of transmission to guard each other and make sure the mission’s ability to hold out the nation’s business,” the acting U.S. ambassador, Ross Wilson, said within the notice. “Restrictions will continue until the chain of transmission is broken.”

“We are beat this together and believe your cooperation during this difficult time,” he said. “We can only return to normal operations with the cooperation of everyone.”

The restrictions confine all personnel at the Kabul embassy to their quarters except to urge food alone or to exercise or relax outside by themselves. This requirement bans all sports and means personnel must occupy least 20 feet from others unless they're wearing a mask.

The announcement was distributed to journalists and others by the American Foreign Service Association, the union that represents US diplomats.

“At a time when the US military withdrawal is accelerating, attacks on Afghan and coalition forces are intensifying and therefore the US is seeking to determine a stable and positive presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal, the damage to our national security and national interests is potentially grave,” the association said of the outbreak.

It also issued a involve the Biden administration to need all staffers in the least US embassies and consulates abroad to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of their employment.

The State Department acknowledged that Afghanistan is suffering an “intense third wave of Covid-19 cases” which the embassy had “adjusted" operations to affect an epidemic among employees for health and safety reason but declined to debate specifics.

Spokesman Ned Price told reporters that vaccines are available to all or any staffers and encouraged, but said there was no current requirement to be vaccinated.

Staffing levels at the Kabul embassy have already been significantly reduced pending the completion of the withdrawal folks and NATO forces from Afghanistan, which President Joe Biden has ordered to be complete by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the us on Sept. 11, 2001.

All personnel who had jobs that didn't require their physical presence at the embassy had been sent to other locations to telework in April shortly after Biden's announcement.


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