Coronavirus cases in Gaza 'increase by 700 percent' in one week

Coronavirus cases in Gaza 'increase by 700 percent' in one week

Cases of Covid-19 in Gaza skyrocketed, with rights groups fearing the pandemic is spreading at a dangerous rate.
2 min read
03 September, 2020
Gaza imposed a 48-hour lockdown as a result of the virus spreading [Getty]

A serious coronavirus crisis reportedly unfolding in Gaza, where the Palestinian territory's Ministry of Health revealed confirmed cases of the virus went up 20 per cent in one day and active cases skyrocketed by 700 per cent in the past week.

Active cases went from 63 to 500, and though numbers remain low, the region is highly overpopulated and, with the Israeli blockade, Gazans are in dire need.

Gaza last month reported its first batch of coronavirus community cases, prompting authorities to immediately announce a 48-hour lockdown period and curfew, as the besieged territory grapples under the weight of a broken healthcare system and bombardment from Israel.

Authorities confirmed four cases of Covid-19 in a refugee camp from a single family in central Gaza, a government spokesperson revealed to Reuters.

"A full curfew will be imposed starting tonight and in all of the Gaza Strip," said Salama Marouf, chairman of the government's media office at the time.

In response, people across the Strip descended on shops and supermarkets to stock up on food and hygiene supplies, whilst police vehicles with loudspeakers instructed people to return to their homes.

The case had been discovered by healthcare authorities after a woman travelled to the West Bank, where she tested positive.

Read more: Under blockade and bombs, Gazans fear Covid-19 disaster

Those who visited a supermarket outside a hospital in central Gaza have been told to quarantine and report to medics.

"Having this happen on top of the existing health system challenges is a matter of concern for us," said Dr. Ayadil Saparbekov at the time, head of the World Health Organisation's local Health Emergencies Team.

"We have been beefing up our support before this event by providing medical equipment and personal protective equipment as well as laboratory testing equipment," he said.

Days later Israeli tanks and warplanes bombed Hamas positions in Gaza, and the Islamists retaliated with rockets as a three-week-old flare-up showed no let-up despite international mediation efforts.

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