Built a century ago and located in the western edge of Kabul city, the Darul Aman Palace was formally turned into hospital on Saturday to treat patients infected with novel coronavirus in Afghanistan.
“The historic palace turned into an isolation facility with 200-bed for the COVID-19 infected patients,” the country’s Public Health Minister Firozuddin Feroz said in his opening remarks in the castle on Saturday.
Badly damaged in conflicts and reconstructed in 2019, the European-style palacewas designed to accommodate government’s functionaries’ meetings and also serve as guest house for high ranking guests. But it would from now on accommodate quarantined patients affected until the country gets rid of the disease.
To contain the spread of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, the government has established scores of isolation centers and health clinics to provide services for the virus-affected patients.
Welcoming the step as a suitable decision to fight COVID-19 in the militancy-battered country, a Kabul resident Abdul Wadoud said that the fast spread of virus in the country requires opening more isolation centers and more hospitals to check the disease.
“The situation is critical and the virus is rapidly spreading across the country. All of us including the government and the citizens should work together to overcome the killing virus,” Wadoud told Xinhua.
“We the people should stay at home to avoid contact the virus and the government has to open more health facilities and essential medicines to combat the disease in the country,” said Wadoud.
Expressing concerns over the spread of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry Wahidullah Mayar told Xinhua on Sunday that the number of patients infected with COVID-19 has reached 993 and could soon surpass 1,000 if the people neglect the ministry’s advices or violate the regulations imposed during quarantine period.
The government has imposed daytime curfew in cities including Kabul since late March and extended for three more weeks last week, calling upon the citizens to stay at home.
According to Mayar, 33 COVID-19-affected patients including three doctors have died and 131 others have recovered since the outbreak of the virus in mid February in Afghanistan.
“I am very thankful to government over turning the iconic Darul Aman Palace to hospital to cure the patients and I am hopeful that the government would do its best to defeat COVID-19 as soon as possible,” a man from northern Baghlan province Hafizullah said.