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Turkey shuts Bab al-Hawa border crossing due to Coronavirus

Local | 2020-03-13 23:09:00
Turkey shuts Bab al-Hawa border crossing due to Coronavirus
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian opposition groups said Turkey has shut the northwestern border crossing of Bab al-Hawa after the fifth coronavirus case was detected on Friday. 

The crossing will be closed for three weeks as the entry is restricted to aid and goods, the administration of Bab al-Hawa crossing said.

Earlier, Turkey suspended flights from China, Iran, Iraq, Italy, and South Korea to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. 

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 123 countries and territories. 

The global death toll is now nearly 5,000, with more than 132,500 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which declared the outbreak a pandemic. 

Also, the Turkish-backed Syrian forces have closed a crossing point with Kurdish-held areas in northern Aleppo province to prevent the outbreak, according to a statement issued Friday.

The National Army said the closure of Oun al-Dadat crossing was over concerns that the coronavirus would spread widely in the opposition-held areas.

Meanwhile, aid agencies are moving to prevent the novel outbreak in war-torn northwestern Syria, where devastated health infrastructure and massive displacement make containment an almost impossible task. 

Syria has not yet confirmed any coronavirus cases, but its "fragile health systems may not have the capacity to detect and respond" to an epidemic, said World Health Organization spokesman Hedinn Halldorsson.

The risk of an outbreak is especially high and most alarming in Syria's northwest, where three million people are trapped in a shrinking rebel bastion battered by months of deadly bombardment.

With close to one million people displaced since December by a Russian-backed Syrian regime offensive on the Idlib region, overcrowded settlements are teeming with fresh arrivals.

Zaman A Wasl
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