Spike in coronavirus cases in Gaza worries main U.N. aid group

GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza has reported hundreds of coronavirus infections since the first case emerged in the general population last week, and a U.N. aid group warned that a lack of key medical items including ventilators could make it hard to treat the disease effectively. Widely impoverished and densely populated, the Islamist-ruled Palestinian enclave has been on lockdown since authorities confirmed four infections from a single family on Aug.

Reuters September 05, 2020 00:11:07 IST
Spike in coronavirus cases in Gaza worries main U.N. aid group

Spike in coronavirus cases in Gaza worries main UN aid group

GAZA (Reuters) - Gaza has reported hundreds of coronavirus infections since the first case emerged in the general population last week, and a U.N. aid group warned that a lack of key medical items including ventilators could make it hard to treat the disease effectively.

Widely impoverished and densely populated, the Islamist-ruled Palestinian enclave has been on lockdown since authorities confirmed four infections from a single family on Aug. 24. It was the first time the virus was detected outside quarantine zones set up for people returning from abroad.

Since then, 603 new cases have been recorded, nearly all among the general population, with four deaths since Aug. 24, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

The Gaza Strip is home to two million Palestinians in cities, towns and refugee camps squeezed within an area of 360 square km (139 square miles), with its borders sealed off by neighbouring Israel and Egypt.

"Gaza is probably the most densely populated place on the face of the earth so measures to contain a virus as violent as COVID-19 are always extremely difficult to put in place," said Tamara Alrifai, spokeswoman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) devoted to Palestinian refugees.

Israel and Egypt restrict movement over Gaza's borders, citing security concerns over its ruling Hamas movement, deemed a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.

Alrifai, in a virtual briefing for reporters streamed from Geneva, said Israel had not hindered humanitarian assistance to Gaza since the coronavirus crisis began and that whatever has been needed to fight COVID-19 "has been well facilitated."

"The real challenge in Gaza is the unavailability of needed items such as ventilators and other medical items," she said.

UNRWA is asking for $94 million in contributions from countries so it can continue COVID-19 containment efforts.

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Emma Farge; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.