Palestinians Report First Coronavirus Cases in Besieged Gaza

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza announced on Sunday the first two cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Deputy Health Minister Youssef Abulreesh said that the two Palestinian patients had returned from Pakistan via Gaza’s Rafah border with neighboring Egypt on Thursday.

The two, who exhibited symptoms of the illness, were placed in quarantine and not allowed into the community.

However, the news added to fear of a potential outbreak in the besieged and impoverishes Gaza Strip. Gaza’s healthcare system is in shambles and its war-battered residents are especially vulnerable as they have lived under an Israeli-Egyptian siege for nearly 13 years.

Authorities in Gaza have decided to shut down the enclave’s restaurants, cafes and reception halls. Friday prayers at mosques have also been suspended until further notice.

“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.

(Palestine Chronicle, AJE, Social Media)

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