Kabul: Afghanistan's Public Health Ministry on Monday confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

"The first coronavirus case was found in Herat province. The patient had no direct contact with the public recently," Xinhua news agency quoted Public Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz as saying here.

"The person has been isolated," he said.

An emergency situation has been announced in the province, 640 km west of Kabul, said the Minister, adding an 80-bed isolation ward has been set up in the Herat Regional Hospital in case if any new case was found.

The Minister said groups for detecting contagious diseases have already been established in the province, bordering Iran which has so far reported 43 cases with eight fatalities.

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