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Besieged Gaza: 35% of COVID-19 Tests Return Positive, Mass Vaccination Program Far off

Besieged Gaza: 35% of COVID-19 Tests Return Positive, Mass Vaccination Program Far off
folder_openMiddle East... access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies 

The officials in the besieged Gaza Strip are increasingly worried about what appears to be a second wave of the coronavirus, as 35 percent of recent tests have returned positive results.

The Enclave currently has 15,475 active cases, but with poor testing health officials estimate that the true number of sick could be more than five times as high. A previous wave of infections in December peaked closer to 10,000 cases.

There are reportedly only enough vaccines for some two percent of the more than 2 million population.

“We began to enter this wave of coronavirus during March. Right now, we’re still seeing a rise in infections and in serious cases, and we expect that number to continue to rise,” said Rami al-Abadleh, one of the officials charged with overseeing the anti-coronavirus effort in Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 75,000 Gazans were known to have been infected with the coronavirus, and while there were 642 reported fatalities. The recent uptick suggests that infection is spreading widely undetected among Gazans.

The strip’s officials announced tightened restrictions on Tuesday, although stopping short of a lockdown. However, with the month-long Ramadan festival approaching, officials have not ruled out more draconian measures to attempt to stem the rise in infections.

However, despite the uptick, some health officials assess that the relative youth of Gaza's population and the likelihood that a high rate of apparently minor infections could lead to widespread herd immunity.