KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan on Monday made the use of face masks mandatory in public places across the country in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at a news conference in the capital Kabul, Ahmad Jawad Osmani, Afghanistan’s acting health minister, said the virus situation in the country is “satisfactory” compared to neighboring countries.

Osmani, however, stressed that the use of face masks is necessary to stem the spread of the virus.

According to the Health Ministry, the country reported 95 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 41,728 – including 1,544 deaths and 34,355 recoveries.

Osmani also urged Afghans to avoid traveling to neighboring Iran and Pakistan amid rising number of virus cases there.

Afghanistan last month reopened all schools after health authorities claimed the country has passed the first wave of the coronavirus.

At least 10 million Afghans were believed to have been infected by the virus, a recent survey by the country’s Health Ministry said in September.

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