Gaza has reported hundreds of coronavirus infections since the first case emerged in the general population last week, and a UN aid group warned that a lack of key medical items including ventilators could make it hard to treat the disease effectively, Reuters reports.
Widely impoverished and densely populated, the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave has been on lockdown since authorities confirmed four infections from a single family on August 24. It was the first time the virus was detected outside quarantine zones set up for people returning from abroad.
Since then, 603 new cases have been recorded, nearly all among the general population, with four deaths since August 24, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
“Gaza is probably the most densely populated place on the face of the earth so measures to contain a virus as violent as COVID-19 are always extremely difficult to put in place,” said Tamara Alrifai, spokeswoman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) devoted to Palestinian refugees.
“The real challenge in Gaza is the unavailability of needed items such as ventilators and other medical items,” Alrifai said.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) September 5, 2020
UNRWA is asking for $94 million in contributions from countries so it can continue COVID-19 containment efforts.
Gaza, with a population of 2 million, has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006, when the Palestinian group Hamas won the democratic legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, that resulted in the death of thousands of people.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)