Kabul, March 29 (IANS) Many residents of Kabul paid little attention to the coronavirus lockdown imposed by the Afghan government due to the coronavirus pandemic and treated the day more like a holiday, a media report said.
The lockdown that came into effect from Saturday for at least a period of three weeks as the country reported a total of 112 coronavirus cases, most of them in the western province of Herat, while the death toll stood at three.
“Based on the decision of the Emergency Committee of Combating Coronavirus and guidelines of the Health Ministry, Kabul city is put into lockdown for now,” Marwa Amini, deputy spokeswoman for the interior ministry told Efe news on Saturday.
“We ask all our citizens to remain cooperative and have comprehensive cooperation with their police and other organs by respecting the lockdown and not to come out of their homes during these days for unnecessary things.”
She added that in most parts of the city “the presence of people was less than normal days” but acknowledged the lockdown had not been fully respected.
Interior Minister Masoud Andarabi directed all police to be “nice and kind under any circumstances” to citizens but warned that police will be strict in the coming days if people continue to violate the law.
Those who did decide to work despite the lockdown, mostly from poor backgrounds, said their financial situation meant they were unable to isolate at home.
“I don’t know how long this quarantine thing will take, I have my family and children who need a piece of bread and for that I have to work” a sapling and flower plants seller in Kabul’s Parwan-e-se area told Efe.
Flower selling is a seasonal business that only lasts for a few weeks in spring.
“I spent all my money and bought saplings and plants to sell them, if I remain in quarantine for two or three weeks, then all of them will be dried and wasted” Agha said.
But some citizens were even more vulnerable and can’t be at home even for a single day.
“I rented this car and use it as a taxi. I earn three to four hundred Afghanis ($4-$5) daily and every day buy food for my children,” another resident told Efe.
“If I stay home, then we’ll have to sleep hungry.”
Officials have called on everyone to stay at home, regardless of their financial situation.
“We are in a sensitive and dangerous phase, the more we apply the directions, the more we prevent the spread of the deadly virus in our country” Nizamuddin Jalil, Kabul Hospitals General Director told Efe.
Around 5 million people live in Kabul, which is considered the most vulnerable city in the country in terms of the spread of the disease.
During quarantine, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for health or security reasons and to buy food and other necessities.
All government organizations are to remain closed except for those related to health and security and those which provide life-saving and urgent services to citizens