KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan resumed international air travel on Wednesday with a Turkish Airlines flight taking off from Kabul for Istanbul, authorities said.

The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority in a statement said that due to restrictions and health advisories, Turkey’s flag carrier will limit its schedule to four flights a week.

Tickets are being offered at reduced prices to encourage more people to travel, it said.

“All passengers holding visa and resident permit for Turkey, the UAE, European countries, and the US can take international flights from today,” the statement read.

According to Afghan authorities, UAE-owned Emirates will resume service on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s flag carrier Ariana Airlines and local private operator Kam Air have also resumed flights to other countries.

Afghanistan suspended air travel in March when the COVID-19 outbreak gripped the war-ravaged country.

Latest figures by the Health Ministry suggest only 651 tests were conducted nationwide in the past 24 hours, out of which 234 turned out positive. Some 21 virus patients died in that period.

With the latest figures, the total number of positive coronavirus cases in Afghanistan surged to 29,715, including 639 deaths. As many as 67,451 tests have been done across the landlocked country thus far.

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