(March 22, 2020 / JNS) Palestinian health officials announced on Sunday that two residents of Gaza that recently returned from Pakistan had tested positive for COVID-19, raising concerns that due the poor health care and dense population in the Hamas-controlled enclave, the virus would spread rapidly.
The Gaza Strip, with its population of more than 2 million, is at high risk from the virus; there are similar concerns regarding Syria, Libya and Yemen, according to the AP.
Abdelnasser Soboh, director of the World Health Organization’s Gaza office, said Gaza has only 62 ventilators—15 of which are already in use.
“If there is a spread to hundreds, this will cause a challenge to the health care system,” said Soboh, according to the report.
Despite the fact that hundreds of Gazans have returned from abroad in the past two weeks, only 92 have been tested. More than 1,270 have been quarantined after entering Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
On Saturday, Hamas closed wedding halls and the weekly street markets, according to the report.
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