Human RightsMiddle EastPalestine

Hamas warns of complications amid rise in COVID-19 infections in Gaza

Basem Naim, a member of the Hamas International Relations Office, said in a statement on Monday that the high rate of infections can overwhelm the fragile health system.

Gaza should be expecting the worst if the epidemiological situation of the coronavirus continues with the current casualty rates, he said, pointing to the exhausted health system, which has been limping as a result of 14 years of Israel’s blockade.

The Hamas official accused Israel of hampering efforts to contain the coronavirus in Gaza, saying the siege has caused shortages of essential drugs and basic necessities.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Naim said the Gaza Health Ministry needs more than one medical oxygen generation plant and over 50 ventilators to confront the virus.

Iyad Abu Karsh, a Gaza Heath Ministry official, has also warned that with the winter coming it is likely that the percentage of emergency cases rise to 40.

Abu Karsh called on international organizations to support the health sector by equipping intensive care units.

On Sunday, the health ministry reported 684 new cases and three more deaths.

Abdelnaser Soboh, the emergency health lead in the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Gaza sub-office, has warned that “within a week, we will become unable to care for critical cases” in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip, home to two million people, has been under an Israeli-imposed land, air, and sea blockade since June 2007, after Hamas, which has vowed to resist Israeli occupation, won the elections and rose to power in the enclave.

The crippling blockade has caused a sharp decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the strip.

Gaza authorities have so far imposed one round of lockdown.

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