Coronavirus: Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19

Coronavirus: Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19

A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave’s meagre medical system by next week, public health advisers said on Sunday.

Gaza, where the dense and poor population of two million is vulnerable to contagions, has logged 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths, mostly since August.

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Seventy-nine of Gaza’s 100 ventilators have been taken up by COVID-19 patients, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave’s pandemic task force.

“In 10 days the health system will become unable to absorb such a hike in cases and there might be cases that will not find a place at intensive care units,” he said, adding that the current 0.05 percent mortality rate among COVID-19 patients could rise.

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Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers have so far imposed one lockdown. A long-standing Israeli blockade, which is supported by neighboring Egypt, has crippled the Gazan economy and undermined its public health apparatus.

Read more: Coronavirus: Gaza in lockdown to try to contain its first COVID-19 outbreak

Israel says it is trying to keep weapons from reaching Hamas, against which it has fought three wars and whose facilities it struck earlier on Sunday in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket launch against one of its southern cities.

“We are not giving Hamas any ‘coronavirus discounts’,” Israeli cabinet minister Izhar Shay told Army Radio.…

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