Besieged Gaza Runs Out Of Coronavirus Tests
By Staff, Agencies
The besieged Gaza Strip has no more coronavirus test kits, Palestinian health officials said Wednesday, amid fears of disaster if the illness spreads in the blockaded, densely packed enclave.
"Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out," Gaza Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.
The impoverished coastal strip has for years been under a blockade led by the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity, which it says is needed to stop weapons and money reaching Hamas resistance movement.
Gaza has reported 13 cases of coronavirus infection, all of whom are at quarantine facilities. But officials have voiced concern that a shortage of critical equipment and medical supplies could set off a rapid spread amongst the enclave's two million people.
In a news briefing, Qidra said dozens of individuals were awaiting testing, and that hundreds of people would likely have to remain in quarantine facilities as a result.
He appealed to international organizations to provide Gaza with testing kits as well as 100 ventilators and 140 beds for intensive care units.
Schools, mosques and wedding halls have been closed and large street gatherings were banned to halt the contagion's spread.
The ‘Israeli’ occupation regime, which tightly controls movement in and out of Gaza, last week linked any coronavirus aid it might offer Palestinians there to progress in its attempt to recover two Zionist soldiers lost during the 2014 war in the enclave.
Also last week, Norway, which chairs a major donor group to the Palestinians, pleaded for more funding for Gaza and the ‘Israeli’-occupied West Bank to help stave off a humanitarian disaster.
One death and 250 cases have been reported amongst Palestinians in the West Bank, a territory the apartheid entity occupied in 1967.