An urgent call to provide Gaza with COVID-19 testing equipment and swabs

The Ministry of Health in Gaza today (Friday) issued an urgent appeal to provide it with medical equipment and screening swabs for the new Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in light of the severe shortage that the besieged Israeli sector has been suffering for 13 years.

Gaza health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra stated, in a press release, that the lack of testing materials has caused a decrease in the number of samples that are performed by the only central laboratory in Gaza.

Al-Qidrah indicated that the Ministry of Health received 8,000 tests for Corona disease last night through the World Health Organization, but the mentioned amount is sufficient for four days only.

He explained that the central laboratory for conducting corona tests in Gaza is currently working at half of its total capacity, and its work is threatened with a total stoppage within a few days if it is not provided with the necessary swabs and medical equipment.

Al-Qidra warned that the low level of the central laboratory's ability to examine Corona disease "will affect the investigation efforts and follow-up contacts, suspected cases and random swabs within the community."

In the same context, the Gaza-based "Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights" warned of the dangers of a "humanitarian catastrophe" threatening the two million people who live in the Gaza Strip in light of the weak capabilities to confront Corona disease.

In a press release, the center said that laboratory materials and examination swabs are urgently needed so that the Ministry of Health in Gaza can take random swabs from the general population.

The center noted that the Gaza Strip lacks sanitation facilities, natural sources of drinking water are largely polluted, fuel and electricity supplies are insufficient, and the infrastructure is dilapidated.

He also drew attention to the crowded living conditions in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, which makes social distancing in the Gaza Strip impossible to maintain.

The Center for Human Rights called on the international community and international bodies to urgently mobilize support for the residents of the Gaza Strip, by increasing supplies of medical equipment and corona test swabs.

Since last March, the Gaza Strip has recorded 18 deaths from Corona disease and 2,658 cases of the disease, including 1701 active cases, according to official Palestinian statistics.


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