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No confirmed Coronavirus cases in Idlib: Opposition Health Minister

Local | 2020-04-09 08:28:00
No confirmed Coronavirus cases in Idlib: Opposition Health Minister
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Health Minister in the opposition's Interim Government said 14 suspected Coronavirus cases in Idlib province were tested negative on Wednesday, such good news as the World Health organization warns of the limited capacity to deal with a rapid spread of the virus in northern Syria.

Dr. Maram Sheikh told Zaman al-Wasl that no Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the opposition areas until now. 

"All 81 suspected cases were tested negative since the kits arrived at the ministry laboratory in the liberated northern Syrian,'' he added.

The World Health organization (WHO) has so far shipped 900 tests to Idlib and another 5,000 are expected to arrive next week. Personal protective equipment has also been distributed to 21 health care facilities but the Idlib Health Directorate is urging the UN agency to ramp up aid and provide "urgently-needed ventilators, protective gear for medical staff and hand sanitizer to overcrowded camps."

According to the WHO, only 50% of public hospitals and 47% of public primary health care centers were fully functional in Syria at the end of 2019.

The war-torn country has for now confirmed 19 cases of the novel coronavirus but experts have cast doubts upon that figure with a policy memo released two weeks ago by the London School of Economics flagging "significant indications that a wider outbreak has already begun," according to euronews.

The paper estimates that the maximum number of COVID-19 cases the country can "adequately" treat is 6,500 and that just half of the 650 intensive care (ICU) beds in public and private hospitals nationwide — excluding Idlib province — have ventilators.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 390,000 people and displaced 6.5 millions, leaving most of the Syrian people under the poverty line, according to the United Nations.

Zaman Al Wasl
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