Covid-19:- 775 deaths, 24506 cases-India

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The number of Coronavirus cases in India has reached to 24506 with 1429 new cases in last 24 hours among which 18668  are active and 5063 have recovered and 775 deaths. Maharashtra leads the tally with 6817 positive cases, 5676 active, 840 recovery and 301 deaths followed by Gujrat with 2815 positive cases, 2423 active, 265  recoveredand 127 deaths. Jammu and Kashmir has 454 positive cases with 340 active, 109 recovered and 6 deaths.

Afghans flee back from Iran

KABUL: Mahdi Noori, a young Afghan refugee in Iran, was left jobless when the factory where he’d worked cutting stone was shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak. He had no money, was afraid of contracting the virus and had no options. So he headed home.
He joined a large migration of some 200,000 Afghans and counting who have been flowing home across the border for weeks from a country that is one of the worlds biggest epicenters of the pandemic to an impoverished homeland that is woefully unprepared to deal with it.
At the border, Noori lined up with thousands of other returning refugees earlier this month, crowded together waiting to cross. "I saw women and children on the border, and I was thinking, What if they get infected now, here," the 20-year-old said.
The massive influx of returnees, who are going back untested and unmonitored to cities, towns and villages around the country, threatens to create a greater outbreak in Afgh­anistan that could overwhelm its health infrastructure wrecked by decades of war. So far, Afghan authorities have confirmed 273 cases of the new coronavirus, more than 210 of them in people who returned from Iran. Four deaths have been recorded.
Afghan Health Minister Ferozudin Feroz says the virus has already spread because of the returnees. If the cases increase, then it will be out of control and we will need help, he said.
He and other Afghan officials expressed concern that Iran would push out the more than 1 million Afghans working illegally in the country. Iran has already barred entry from Afghanistan, preventing any who left from coming back. Iran has had more than 58,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,600 deaths.
So far, the International Organisation of Migration has recorded more than 198,000 Afghans returnees from Iran this year, more than 145,000 of them in March as the outbreak in Iran accelerated. At the height of the influx, 15,000 people a day were crossing the border, according to Repatriation and Returnees Minister Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, though it has gone down slightly since.
At the border, the IOM gives tents and blankets to returnees who have nowhere to go and transportation money to others. But the Afghan government and independent agencies don’t have the capacity to test, take temperatures or quarantine the returnees. Almost all go back to their home provinces using public transportation, around a quarter of them to Herat province, bordering Iran.
Noori's experience mirrors that of many other returnees. He quit school to go work in Iran when he was 15, bouncing between multiple jobs, most recently cutting stone in a construction materials factory in the central Iranian city of Isfahan. He earned enough to send $180 a month back to his impoverished family of eight.
When the factory shut, he lost his income. He feared that, if infected, he would get no treatment because Afghans are far down in priority. He tried to get tested in Iran but was refused, he said.
He traveled back with other workers, not knowing if any of them were infected. Once in Afghanistan, he took buses across almost the entire breadth of the country to reach the capital, Kabul.
On the buses, he was met with hostility from other Afghans who told him, "fear of coronavirus brought you home to kill others with it," he said.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2020

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Covid-19:- 775 deaths, 24506 cases-India