KABUL, Afghanistan 

The traditional spring festival of Nevruz will not be held this year in Afghanistan amid fears of the novel coronavirus, an official statement announced on Thursday. 

The country’s national security council announced on Thursday that the festival would not be publicly observed this year as the World Health Organization (WHO) described COVID-19 as a pandemic — suggesting the disease was spreading across the globe, for the first time on Wednesday.

As a war-ravaged country with a fragile health system, Afghanistan has so far confirmed seven positive cases of the virus. There are also at least 60 suspected cases

Read more: Coronavirus: Afghanistan scraps annual Nevruz festival