KABUL, Afghanistan

Nationwide restrictions on social gatherings as well as public and private education centers was extended for two weeks in Afghanistan as spiraling cases of COVID-19 continue to test the fragile health system of the war-ravaged country.

According to the Health Ministry’s directives, schools, universities and other academic institutions throughout the country shall remain closed for two more weeks.

It has also suggested closures of all social gathering spots such as wedding halls, swimming pools and other recreational spots amid a spike in new coronavirus infections and related deaths.

As many as 1,967 new infections, 63 deaths, and 697 recoveries were confirmed in the past 24 hours, pushing the total to 111,592 cases, 4,519 deaths, and 66,799 recoveries.

Afghanistan resumed the vaccination campaign following a gap of nearly a month after receiving the much-needed consignment of 700,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by China.

According to Our World in Data, a tracking website, at least 766,000 doses have been administered to date. Doses were also gifted by India, as well as came through COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing facility.

It began the inoculation campaign in February, and has called for more international support to vaccinate at least 20% of its 38 million population this year, and 60% by the end of 2022.

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