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Coronavirus

Afghanistan Running Out of Oxygen as COVID Surge Worsens

KABUL — Afghanistan’s is racing to ramp up supplies of oxygen as a deadly third surge of COVID-19 worsens, a senior health official told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

The government is installing oxygen supply plants in 10 provinces where up to 65% of those tested in some areas are positive, health ministry spokesman Ghulam Dastigir Nazari said. By WHO recommendations, anything higher than 5% shows officials aren’t testing widely enough, allowing the virus to spread unchecked.

Afghanistan carries out barely 4,000 tests a day and often much less.

Afghanistan’s 24-hour infection count has also continued its upward climb from 1,500 at the end of May when the health ministry was already calling the surge “a crisis,” to more than 2,300 this week.

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