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U.S. Locks Down Kabul Embassy Amid COVID Outbreak

A patient suffering from COVID-19 receives treatment at Kabul's Afghan-Japan Hospital on June 15.

Staff in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul are being required to telework due to a "significant outbreak” of COVID-19 that has killed one local staffer.

In a notice sent on June 17, the embassy said the virus has also sent 114 into quarantine and forced several people to be medically evacuated.

The embassy said it was confining all staff to their quarters except to get food or to exercise or relax outside by themselves.

"Failure to abide by the mission's Covid policies will result in consequences up to and including removal from post on the next available flight," the notice said.

It also encouraged vaccination, saying 95 percent of the cases at the diplomatic mission were among people who were not fully vaccinated.

The restrictions would remain in place until "the chain of transmission has been broken," according to the notice, which was distributed to employees and journalists.

In April, the U.S. State Department ordered the departure of nonessential staff from Afghanistan amid concern over rising violence and threats in Kabul.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP