Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and wife test negative for coronavirus.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the first lady have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, officials announced on Tuesday, after reports of an outbreak at the presidential palace.

Presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said the tests were conducted at their own request.

“The president is healthy,” Sediqqi tweeted.

At least 40 employees of the palace have been infected by the coronavirus, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

Sediqqi said that staff with symptoms had been tested, without giving any figure for infections.

Overall, the country has had more than 1,000 positive cases, with 36 deaths.

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Officials are expecting that new cases will rapidly increase in the coming weeks.

Only around 7,000 people have been tested so far in Afghanistan.

The country’s healthcare system is fragile due to four decades of conflict.