WHO concerned about COVID-19 in Afghanistan as jabs slow

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GENEVA, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about the spread of the coronavirus in Afghanistan as the upheaval caused by the Taliban advance and seizure of power has slowed vaccinations, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"As the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate rapidly, WHO is extremely concerned over the unfolding safety and humanitarian needs in the country, including risk of disease outbreaks and rise in COVID-19 transmission," Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing.

WHO mobile health teams have been on hold in the capital for the past 24 hours due to the insecurity and the unpredictable situation, he said. Chaos at Kabul airport, where thousands of people have been seeking to flee the Taliban, was slowing deliveries of medical supplies, worsening existing shortages.

Jasarevic said the WHO, like those of other U.N. agencies, was committed to remain in the country.

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Reporting by Emma Farge and Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Holmes

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