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UPDATE 1-U.S. requires embassy staff in Afghanistan to telework amid COVID-19 outbreak

·1 min read

(Adds quote from Ned Price and details)

WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) - Staff in the U.S. embassy in Kabul are being required to telework, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday, citing a "significant outbreak of COVID-19" that has sickened officials and killed one local embassy staffer.

The embassy was taking steps to ensure safety of staff by "requiring all staff to telework and to adhere to physical distancing, masking requirements and other applicable regulations," Price said.

Price declined to say how many embassy staff had been infected, but said 95% of the cases at the embassy were individuals who were not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated against the virus.

"We are saddened by the deaths of many valiant Afghans who've been sickened by this pandemic and we in fact grieve the passing of a local embassy staff member," Price said, adding normal embassy operations would resume when "the chain of transmission has been broken." (Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by David Gregorio)