Coronavirus in the Gaza Strip

 Adam Khalil MEE 23/03/20

The Hamas government has stepped up its measures to limit the spread of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip following the announcement of the first two confirmed cases in the enclave … “We have been used to living on our own and living in extreme conditions for many years”, said Nawal Eliwa, 55, as she shopped for groceries. “But this pain afflicted the whole world this time, not only Gaza. We do not know if it will help the world understand what is happening in Gaza after the crisis ends.” With only a fraction of Palestinians in Gaza able to enter or leave, the territory has been somewhat isolated from the coronavirus outbreak. Over 1,300 people returning from abroad have been placed into quarantine centres, mostly set up in empty schools and hotels. The Hamas government has imposed additional restrictions, including the closure of all restaurants and cafes, as well as wedding halls, the suspension of Friday prayers and calling worshipers to pray in their homes, but without a complete closure of mosques. The authorities are also preventing weekly markets in all cities. . . .   With help from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the health ministry has turned a school in Rafah into a centre for fighting Covid-19, complete with an intensive care unit with 36 beds for infected people and 30 other beds for patients with any mild symptoms, according to Majdi Thuhair, a second health ministry spokesman.

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