By: Suraya Raiszada
KABUL: Following coronavirus outbreak in a number of cities in Iran, a number of Afghan refugees living in various cities of the neighboring countries have started returning to their homes in Afghanistan, but after agreement between Tehran and Kabul in connection with curing coronavirus infected Afghan refugees in Iranian hospitals, returning of Afghan families has reduced by 83 percent.
Officials for Afghanistan ministry of refugees and repatriates say returning of Afghan refugees from Iran has cut down by 83 percent after Tehran and Kabul agreed that coronavirus infected Afghans would be cured in Iranian hospitals free of charges.
“Returning of Afghans from Iran to Afghanistan has continually reduced during the past few weeks as COVID19 infected Afghans are now accepted to be cured in Iranian hospitals,” said Abdul Basit Ansari, media advisor to the ministry of refugees.
According to Ansari, since the beginning of the month of March, 240,000 Afghan refugees have voluntarily returned home from Iran.
Afghanistan ministry of refugees has said that they do not have the exact number of those Afghans losing their life due to coronavirus, but unconfirmed news has shown that around 50 Afghan refugees have died due to infection to coronavirus, while hundreds others have been infected to the virus in various cities of the neighboring country.
Ansari said that based on information they have received from Iran, most of death among Afghan refugees has been registered in Qum city and most of the death had aged more than 60 years.
He stressed that there have been a range of problems in treatment of Afghan refugees at the beginning, but fortunately the issues have been resolved and Afghans were not treated free of charges in Iranian hospitals.
According to Afghanistan ministry of refugees and repatriation, Iranian borders to Afghan refugees are open, while Pakistan has closed its borders to Afghan refugees.
Based on reports, since the beginning of 2020, the number of Afghan refugees who have returned from Iran has reached to 83,000, considered as unprecedented in recent years.
Afghanistan ministry of public health has recently expressed concern over increasing returning of Afghan refugees from Iran, saying that most of the refugees might have been infected to COVID19. The ministry of public health has tested dozens of suspicious cases of coronavirus from various parts of the country where most of them have returned from the neighboring country.
It is worth mentioning that coronavirus outbreak is the rise in Afghanistan as the number of positive cases for the COVID19 in the country has reached to 1828. The number of recovered cases in the country is 228, while 58 others have died. The number of deaths from the COVID-19 globally is more than 211,216, and more than 3 million have been infected with the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.