Hamas Chief in Gaza Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Hamas’ chief in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar. (Photo: via AJE)

The leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, tested positive on Tuesday for the novel coronavirus, the Palestinian movement said.

“Yahya Sinwar, the head of the political bureau of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was infected with the coronavirus today,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told AFP.

“His general health condition is good. He is working as usual but in isolation.”

Sinwar is the latest Palestinian leader to contract the virus.

Long-time chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died from coronavirus-related complications last month. Hamas official Salah El Arouri has also tested positive for the virus.

Tuesday’s announcement came as Gaza battles surging infections.

The small and densely populated enclave of around two million people, under Israeli-blockade since 2007, initially held off a major coronavirus outbreak.

Gaza had recorded just 100 cases until mid-August, but the crisis has escalated in recent weeks.

The territory’s confirmed caseload now stands at more than 21,400, with 11 deaths. Daily infections have recently ranged between 700 and 800.

“The truth is, no amount of ‘preparedness’ in Gaza – or, frankly, anywhere in occupied Palestine – can stop the spread of the Coronavirus,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Ramzy Baroud.

“What is needed is a fundamental and structural change that would emancipate the Palestinian healthcare system from the horrific impact of the Israeli occupation and the Israeli government’s policies of perpetual siege and politically-imposed ‘quarantines’ – also known as apartheid,” Baroud added.

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, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Social Media)

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