07 July 2020

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Friday April 17, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Ashraf Ghani presided over the High Economic Council meeting to mainly discuss measures to cope with the spread of corona virus, BNA reported.
In the meeting, the council members talked over the efforts to deal with possible obstacles that may impede export of Afghan agricultural products due to the spread of corona pandemic.
The council approved in principle a plan of the Ministry of Agriculture which according to the ministry’s officials will prevent the agricultural products from perishing and minimize the possibility of losses to the producers.
President Ghani instructed the ministries of Finance, and Industries and Commerce to think through the approaches on giving loans through Afghanistan National Bank to the companies interested to cooperate in implementation of the plan.
The president instructed the ministries of Foreign Affairs, and Industries and Commerce to extend efforts on economic diplomacy and work on bilateral agreements with Afghan neighbouring countries to ensure export and import of items during the corona lockdown take place smoothly.
HEC also approved in principle the national plan on manufacturing the items to help in fighting the corona contagion, developed by the Ministry of Industries and Commerce in coordination with the Public Health Ministry to meet its requirements.
The executive director of Afghanistan National Development Company presented the plan on procurement of 100,000 [one hundred thousand] beds for corona patients and said the beds will be produced in five zones of the country at the most reasonable price.


Thursday, April 16, 2020
Kabul (BNA) President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a virtual meeting with Covid-19 emergency committee of Herat province on Tuesday evening received their report on progresses in fighting the corona virus spread in that province, a statement said yesterday.
The president, joined by senior government officials, thoroughly discussed the efforts to effectively curb the spread of the pandemic in Herat and agreed upon extending the lockdown in Herat province, the presidential press office statement said.
The VTC participants praised the initiative of ‘food bank’ establishment in Herat, calling on officials of other provinces to encourage people on taking such initiatives, the statement added.


Tuesday April 14, 2020
Kabul (BNA) An Indian ship on Sunday began its journey to Iran’s Chabahar port, carrying a major consignment for Afghanistan of wheat and anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“251 containers carrying the first consignment of 5,022 MT of wheat out of a total gift of 75,000 MT from India to Afghanistan set sail from the Kandla Port to the Chabahar Port today [on Sunday]. The remaining consignments will follow in the weeks ahead. India is gifting 5,00,000 tablets of HydroxyChloroquine to Afghanistan for health professionals and COVID-19 positive cases,” the Embassy of India in Kabul said in a post on social media.
The initiative comes a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video-conference with South Asian leaders, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, leading to the integration of Afghanistan in India’s regional strategy for the containment of the disease through the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
The use of the Chabahar port is being viewed as symbolically important as it is the first time India is using it for a humanitarian mission since the top leaders of Iran criticised India for the violence in Delhi during the last week of February that led to the killing and displacement of Muslim citizens.
The violence broke out during the February 24-25 visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to India when the U.S. sanctions on Iran were highlighted. When asked to comment on India’s use of the Chabahar port for the humanitarian mission, an Iranian diplomatic source hinted that Iran had asked for support of the international community to defeat U.S. sanctions as they had hampered its fight against the disease. The open letter in this regard was written by President Hassan Rouhani on March 13, and the diplomat said the request was also aimed at India, indicating that a response from New Delhi was yet to reach Tehran.

Monday April 13, 2020
Kabul (BNA) The European Union has set out plans for a robust and targeted response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, which amounts to EUR 20 billion from existing European external action resources and actions of the Member States. The EU’s collective action will address the immediate health crisis and resulting humanitarian needs, strengthening partner countries’ health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, as well as mitigating the socio-economic impact.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, commented: “The virus knows no borders. This global challenge needs strong international cooperation. The European Union is working tirelessly to fight the pandemic. We all know that only together we can stop the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.”
The EU recognizes that Afghanistan may be severely affected by the pandemic. Afghanistan’s public health system is weakened by years of conflict, has to cope with limited resources, and is not accessible throughout the country. The EU response, amounting to EUR 117 million, is directed to tackling the pandemic and addressing its health and socio-economic impacts. This includes EUR 50 million in additional funding to strengthen Afghanistan’s health system. This will help making human and material resources, such as testing and treatment equipment, available for a specific response to the COVID-19 crisis while allowing for the continuation of ongoing key basic services such as maternal and child care. Health awareness raising and surveillance actions will also be supported across the country. Specific attention will be given to returnees from Iran and Pakistan and internally displaced persons, and their host communities, with activities including awareness raising, sanitation and hygiene measures, and access to health services and income opportunities. This is complemented by support to Afghans on the move in Iran and Pakistan.
In the words of EU Ambassador to Afghanistan H.E. Pierre Mayaudon: “Today EU gives to its engagement in Afghanistan a new, concrete and robust dimension by supporting all efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of the Coronavirus. Fighting the disease should be the only fight in Afghanistan. Our assistance comes with the strong plea to political leaders to urgently reach an agreement and to all parties to the armed conflict to observe an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

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