The restrictions include closing schools, universities, kindergartens, mosques and popular weekly markets, limiting opening hours for some businesses
Gaza introduces tighter restrictions to halt surging coronavirus cases. Due to the rapid hike in cases, infected with Covid-19 in the besieged Gaza Strip, the authorities announced on Thursday several strict measures and have re-imposed restrictions to combat the spread of the virus starting from December 11, including closing schools, universities, kindergartens, mosques and popular weekly markets, limiting opening hours for some businesses. Continuing to enforce preventing gatherings and imposing a complete lockdown on Friday and Saturday every week, starting from Friday, December 11th, and until the end of this month
The Ministry of Health in the besieged Gaza Strip warned that the situation is so tragic and catastrophic, and the health system might collapse within few days.
The people of Gaza are facing this pandemic with their fragile health sector which results after the long years of Israeli siege and bombing on Gaza that affect all the Gaza Strip sectors and infrastructure. Several sectors have exacerbated, and others are on the brink of collapse, including the health sector.
During the press conference, Dr Ashraf Alqedra, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, stated that there are not enough hospitals. The virus is spreading as the situation is getting out of control. The number of intensive care beds is limited, as are medicines with extreme overcrowding. Also, there is running out of ventilators and lacking oxygen-generating machines, protective gear, and hygiene materials because of the Israeli occupation authorities procrastination in allowing them to enter the Gaza strip. He added that thirty-two per cent of essential medicines and 62 percent of items for medical laboratories are unavailable.
Gaza’s Demographic Structure
The environment of the coastal enclave is adequate for spreading the pandemic. Much of Gaza’s population lives in eight overcrowded refugee camps, with large families common.
So, the Ministry of Health urged that the health system would become unable to absorb such a hike in cases. He also warned that if nobody acts urgently, maybe the world will witness a humanitarian catastrophe as it might be cases that will not find a place at intensive care units. The cumulative number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic stands at 15,457, including 80 deaths.
The United Nations also warned of “disastrous consequences” as a result of the increasing number of Coronavirus cases in Gaza, in light of the continuation of the Israeli blockade since 2006. This came during a session of the United Nations Security Council, held via a television circle, on “the situation in the Middle East, including, the Palestinian issue.”
The UN expressed its “deep concern” about the resurgence of the Coronavirus, especially in the Gaza Strip. It also stressed that “the dilapidated infrastructure, poor living conditions, and a fragile health care system, make Gaza ill-equipped to cope with a significant rise in cases.”
The UN Special Coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East, Nikolai Miladinov, explained the concerns that they are “a result of severe restrictions imposed on movement, and years of humanitarian, social and economic disasters.”
He added, “after eight months of the spread of the epidemic, Palestinian unemployment rates have increased alarmingly, as 121,000 Palestinians lost their jobs following the first closure (last March).”
And Miladinov pointed out that “employment figures decreased by 17 per cent in Gaza, and about 40per cent of families lost more than half of their income, and food insecurity rates increased in the same period.”
The cumulative number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic stood at 10,457, including 129 deaths.
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