Gaza coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread

By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday after reporting two deaths and 26 COVID-19 cases in the first public outbreak of the coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. As of two days ago, when the first four cases were discovered in a refugee camp in the 360 square-kilometre (140 square-mile) territory, and a 48-hour lockdown was imposed, there had been no infections outside border quarantine facilities for new arrivals. But by late on Wednesday, health officials said 26 people in several locations had tested positive for COVID-19 and two patients had died - a sign the world pandemic had penetrated Gaza's forced isolation.

Reuters August 27, 2020 04:10:21 IST
Gaza coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread

coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/08-2020/27/2020-08-26T102400Z_1_LYNXMPEG7P0S8_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-GAZA.jpg" alt="Gaza coronavirus lockdown extended by 72 hours after infections spread" width="300" height="225" />

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday after reporting two deaths and 26 COVID-19 cases in the first public outbreak of the coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

As of two days ago, when the first four cases were discovered in a refugee camp in the 360 square-kilometre (140 square-mile) territory, and a 48-hour lockdown was imposed, there had been no infections outside border quarantine facilities for new arrivals.

But by late on Wednesday, health officials said 26 people in several locations had tested positive for COVID-19 and two patients had died - a sign the world pandemic had penetrated Gaza's forced isolation.

The 40-kilometre (24-mile)-long territory run by Hamas Islamists is sealed off from the outside world by Israeli walls, watchtowers and gunboats along 90% of its border and coastline, and by Egypt along a narrow strip to the south.

Both countries impose tight restrictions on movement in and out of Gaza, citing security concerns over Hamas, which is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.

The new infections added to concerns among local and international health organizations about Gaza's potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital capacity.

Mosques, schools and most businesses have been ordered closed. Authorities have instructed Gazans to stay at home and wear masks if they need to shop for essentials.

Ignacio Casares Garcia, head of the Gaza Subdelegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said hospitals and health centres in the territory did not have sufficient medical equipment and medication for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

"The Gaza healthcare system would not be able to deal with more than a few dozen coronavirus patients," he said in a statement, calling for more international assistance.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by Richard Pullin)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up
News & Analysis

Cryptocurrency prices tumble and exchange trading falters as snags crop up

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The price of cryptocurrencies plunged and crypto trading was delayed on Tuesday, a day in which El Salvador ran into snags as the first country to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Shares of blockchain-related firms also fell as crypto stocks were hit by trading platform outages. But the major focus was on El Salvador, where the government had to temporarily unplug a digital wallet to cope with demand.

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field
News & Analysis

Ford poaches Apple's car project chief Doug Field

By Joseph White and Sanjana Shivdas (Reuters) -The head of Apple Inc's car project, Doug Field, is going to work for Ford Motor Co to lead the automaker's advanced technology and embedded systems efforts, a hiring coup for Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley.