COVID-19 in Kabul: Virus outbreak in US embassy leaves 114 people sick, 1 dead

The US embassy in Kabul has been forced into immediate lockdown due to a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan.

The rising infection has also prompted US officials to build temporary, on-site COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients, USA Today reported citing an internal memo.

"COVID-19 is surging in the Mission. 114 of our colleagues now have COVID and are in isolation; one has died, and several have been medevaced," reads the notice from Shane Pierce, an employee in the embassy's health unit.

According to this internal memo, the intensive care units at a US military hospital are swarmed and temporary on-site units have been set up for staff who need oxygen.

The latest virus outbreak has led the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), to call on US President Joe Biden to require all government employees overseas to be vaccinated along with some exceptions.

"Our understanding is that there is enough vaccine at every embassy and consulate in the world for anyone, who wants to get it," Eric Rubin, who heads the AFSA told NPR.

Last week, the US diplomatic mission in Afghanistan suspended visa operations at the embassy's consular section due to the spread of the virus across the country.

"In response to the current outbreak, effective June 13 the Embassy's Consular Section is suspending all visa operations," the embassy had said in a statement.

It added that those who have scheduled appointments will be able to reschedule as soon as visa operations resume.

According to the Johns Hopkins University, Afghanistan has so far recorded 96,531 cases and 3,842 fatalities.

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