Syria bans shisha, closes schools amid coronavirus prevention measures

Syria bans shisha, closes schools amid coronavirus prevention measures
Syrian authorities announced a number of preventative measures against coronavirus, which included a ban on shisha at restaurants and cafes.
1 min read
14 March, 2020
Despite the coronavirus' presence in neighbouring countries, Syria maintains it has no cases [Getty]
Syrian authorities announced measures on Friday to prevent COVID-19 from reaching the war-torn country, including a ban on shisha in public spaces, state media reported.

According to state agency SANA, the Syrian government rolled out a number of preventative policies, which includes the closure of schools, universities and institutes until April 2.

Damascus also announced the suspension of all "scientific, cultural, and sporting events" that draw large gatherings. Restaurants and cafes, authorities decreed, were banned from serving shisha.

Despite the presence of the novel coronavirus in neighbours Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, Syria's health ministry maintains the country has no cases, according to a SANA report on Friday.

Read more: What can the world do to spare Syria from a disastrous coronavirus outbreak?

Idlib, Syria's last opposition bastion which has been targeted by an aggressive state military campaign, is at an alarming risk of undergoing a coronavirus outbreak.

The province saw nearly one million civilians displaced due to the violent conflict, with many living in exposed makeshift camps.

Syria's "fragile health systems may not have the capacity to detect and respond" to an epidemic, World Health Organization spokesman Hedinn Halldorsson told AFP on Sunday.

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