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Two coronavirus cases recorded in northern Syria: Laboratory

Local | 2020-08-10 22:28:49
Two coronavirus cases recorded in northern Syria: Laboratory
Two new cases of COVID-19 has been recored in rebel-held areas, out of 95 tests, bringing the number to 45 in Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo, The Epidemiological Surveillance Laboratory said Sunday.

Dr. Mohamed Hallaj, director of the Syria Response Coordinators team, confirmed that “two cases were recorded in the Salam camp near Bab al-Salama crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border. These are the first two cases recorded within the camps since the beginning of the spread of the virus in the liberated areas.

“Unfortunately, with these new cases, the threat of the spread of the virus in these crowded border camps has risen. The two infected had had direct contact with a number of people in ther camp, which presents a risk of the rapid spread of the pandemic in the next few days,” the doctor explained.

According to Dr. Hallaj, the lack of social distancing, the insufficient humanitarian response, and the shortage of necessary and basic materials put the people in the camps at a higher risk of infection. Although masks, gloves, disinfectants and water are all but missing in the camps, humanitarian organizations are not doing much to supply these vital materials for fighting coronavirus.

“The situation must be remedied. The infected must be isolated immediately and quarantine must be set to contain and prevent the spread to other areas and camps.”

Dr. Hallaj called on international and local humanitarian organisations to "improve the services within the camps. Another option is to return the displaced to their homes after repairing them and ceasing the ongoing daily violations, in order to reduce the number of residents in the camps, limit and control the spread of the virus, and increase the effectiveness of the humanitarian response within the camps, including water, hygiene kits and preventive measures.

“The awareness campaigns are not enough, because, according to studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), a case infection in a city or town can transmit the disease to 406 people within one month. And based on a simple study that I have previously conducted, a single infection in one of the camps can be transmitted to 2,500 people within one month, and in the event that we are not able to control the infection, it may reach 6,000 more people within 30 to 40 days.”
In regime-held areas, the capital is facing a "terrible" spike in COVID-19 infections, with hospitals packed, patients scouring Facebook for advice and medics fearing the virus is spreading faster than clinics can test for it.

Limited testing facilities and Syrian regime control over pandemic statistics have led to concerns that the real number of cases is much higher than what's being reported. 

Officially, 1160 people have now been confirmed with the coronavirus in Syria, and while at least 331 people have recovered from COVID-19 and 50 people have died, the majority of them registered since July, according to data from the World Meters organisation. 

After being slow to implement a lockdown, Syrian authorities have since eased restrictions amid deepening economic hardship. Tightening Western sanctions have also led to increasing poverty in government-controlled Syria.

After restrictions were eased in early June, there was a notable increase in recorded cases, mostly in the capital Damascus and its surrounding countryside. Dozens of cases were recorded in Aleppo and other government-controlled areas also.

In late July, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said official cases reported by the Syrian Ministry of Health increased by more than 100% in July, including over 270 cases of unknown origin “potentially indicating that community transmission is now widespread.”
The Syrian regime appears reluctant to reimpose a lockdown while the country’s economy unravels.

Rumors have swirled that the virus numbers reported mask a far more severe outbreak.


Zaman Al Wasl
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