KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s acting health minister on Saturday said the government has reached the limit of its capacity to test coronavirus patients in the country.

Speaking at a gathering in the capital Kabul, Ahmad Jawad Osmani said from now on, any people with symptoms of COVID-19 would ultimately be considered as a positive case of the novel coronavirus infection.

“At present, we have laboratories in 11 provinces of Afghanistan and we plan to increase the number of services in all 34 provinces, but it takes time which is out of the control of the ministry,” he said.

Latest figures issued by the Health Ministry revealed that 556 cases proved positive after 1,045 samples were collected in the past 24 hours. The latest figures brought the tally of cases to 24,101 with 4,201 patients recovering and 451 losing their lives.

Separately, Mawlawi Abdul Hakeem Muneeb, the country’s hajj and religious affairs minister, announced on Saturday there are no plans in place for this year’s proposed Islamic Hajj pilgrimage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said in a news conference that unlike past years, no contingency plans have been shared by the Saudi government with Afghanistan so far, which means no preparations could be put in place for this year’s pilgrimage due in August.

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