Roundup: Gaza free of coronavirus amid tightened preventive measures -Xinhua

Roundup: Gaza free of coronavirus amid tightened preventive measures

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2020-03-12 04:05:56

GAZA, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian coastal enclave of Gaza Strip is so far free of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), thanks to the tightened measures taken to prevent the import of the virus.

"We didn't record any case infected with coronavirus all over the Gaza Strip," Majdy Dhair, director of Preventive Medicine Department in the Ministry of Health, told Xinhua.

Dhair revealed that he came to the conclusion after 30 suspected cases had been examined over the past few days, all of whom tested negative for the COVID-19.

Since the coronavirus started its spread in the Middle East weeks ago, the health authorities in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip took a series of measures to prevent the import of the disease.

Two weeks ago, Gaza established a field hospital at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which can deal with at least 30 cases a day, and then its capacity was increased to receive more than 150 patients a day.

Doctors were deployed at the Rafah crossing to take the temperature of the passengers. Only the passengers with normal temperature were allowed to pass.

"Every citizen has to sign on a paper of pledge before entering the Gaza borders with Egypt," said Dhair, adding that all passengers returning from Egypt were required to stay home for 14 days.

He said that all these measures are essential to ensure the safety of the residents in Gaza Strip.

Dhair also said that there are 52 rooms prepared at Rafah crossing for those who are suspected of being infected with the virus, adding "doctors will observe and take care of the infected persons if there is any."

The Palestinian Authority has declared a state of emergency after dozens of COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the West Bank, mainly in the tourist city of Bethlehem.

However, Dhair didn't hide his deep concern over the health situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip, in case the coronavirus spreads in the impoverished enclave.

"We will face severe challenges in light of a lack of equipment as well as doctors," he said.

Meanwhile, precautionary measures have been taken by private businesses in Gaza.

Ahmed Murtaja, head of a hipper supermarket, ordered his workers to sterilize his market everyday.

"We have to help ourselves and prevent the spreading of the deadly virus," he told Xinhua, adding that Gaza cannot defeat the virus alone, especially in light of the lack of sterilization materials.

Bshara Shehada, owner of a bakery in Gaza City downtown, used a nylon barrier to separate his workers and customers.

"We should follow the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus," the 65-year-old man told Xinhua.

Karima Abu Ramadan, a 55-year-old mother of five, said she knows what precautionary steps to take, including washing hands and barring children from leaving home.

"We hope the virus will not spread in Gaza, "because it will be a catastrophe," she added.

The government in Gaza has started a campaign to sterilize all public places and major parks in the city.

Mohammed Alashi, head of the Preventive Health Department in Gaza, told Xinhua that the campaign will go on and all schools and universities buildings would be sterilized.


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