At least 37 suspected Covid-19 patients flee Afghan hospital
March 17 2020 12:21 PM
Men walk past Afghan's trucks parked along a road near the closed Pakistan-Afghanistan border amid c
Men walk past Afghan's trucks parked along a road near the closed Pakistan-Afghanistan border amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Torkham

dpa/Kabul

At least 37 patients thought to be suffering from Covid-19, the illness brought on by the novel coronavirus, have fled from a hospital in Afghanistan's western Herat province, a Health Ministry spokesperson said Monday evening.
The people in question were in isolation due to the virus. They escaped the hospital with the help of their relatives after beating up staff members at the medical centre, ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said. Mayar also criticized the police for not doing anything to control the situation.
 Meanwhile a spokesman for Herat governor Farhad Jellani told dpa that a total of 38 people - the 37 mentioned earlier and one virus-infected person - escaped the hospital. Authorities managed to return seven of them back to the hospital. Efforts continued on Tuesday to bring all of them back. According to the Afghan Health Ministry, all those involved in the hospital break-out had recently returned from Iran.
Why the individuals left the medical facility was not immediately clear, but videos on social media suggested they were at odds with the hospital over their treatment. The authenticity of the videos could not be verified independently.
At the same time, the Taliban offered cooperation to fight the corona pandemic. A spokesman for the group, Suhail Shaheen, said on Monday night that the group was ready to fully cooperate with international health organizations in preventing the spread of the virus.



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