India on Sunday shipped the first consignment of 5,022 metric tons (MT) of wheat to Afghanistan to ensure food security during difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic

"251 containers carrying the first consignment of 5,022 MT of wheat out of the total gift of 75,000 MT from India to Afghanistan set sail from Kandla port to Chabahar port today. The remaining consignments will follow in the weeks ahead," the Indian embassy in Afghanistan announced.

Last year, India Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar had said that India would gift 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan.

The Indian embassy here also announced that New Delhi will send 5,00,00 hydroxychloroquine tablets soon.

India has cleared the first list of 13 countries for hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) export, which includes Afghanistan. HCQ tablets play a crucial role in the treatment of coronavirus patients

"This humanitarian gesture of Indian people to our Afghan brethren will ensure food security during difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic. India is gifting 500,000 tablets of HydroxyChloroquine to AFG for health professionals and COVID-19 positive cases," the embassy further said.

Afghanistan on Sunday reported 52 new cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases in the country to 607. Eighteen people including two health workers have succumbed to the disease so far.

Afghanistan's Health Minister Ferozuddin Feroz in late March had expressed concerns that unless drastic measures were taken, the country's tattered healthcare system may not be able to prevent up to 80 per cent of the population from contracting the virus and as much as 1,10,000 people dying.