Afghanistan on Saturday closed down all educational institutions as nationwide COVID-19 cases marked a record high.
The move was proposed by the Health Ministry after the war-struck nation on Friday registered 977 cases and 18 deaths from the virus, the highest daily figures so far. With this, the total cases of COVID-19 surged to 70,107 and the death toll rose to 2,899.
"We are desperately trying to manage the third wave of the pandemic, but if the people continue to defy health guidelines such as keeping social distance, wearing masks, and washing hands, a catastrophe is imminent, do not expect a miracle," Health Minister Waheed Majroh said.
The annual university entrance examinations in the capital Kabul have also been suspended.
In February, Afghanistan began the rollout of the Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine following World Health Organization’s emergency use approval.
The country received 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from India.
Afghanistan’s Health Ministry has repeatedly called for more international support for it to help vaccinate at least 20% of the estimated population of 38 million this year, and 60% by the end of 2022.