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Iran Press TV

Gaza Strip could face real catastrophe if COVID-19 cases soar: Rights group

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 04 April 2020 3:03 PM

The besieged Gaza Strip might be hit by a "real catastrophe" if the number of people infected by COVID-19 rises, a rights group warns, as the new pandemic rages across the world.

In an urgent appeal to the international community, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said in a statement on Saturday that "the lives of tens of thousands of the Gaza Strip residents are under an unprecedented threat in light of the weak health capabilities and the continued siege."

The group, which is based in the Jabaliya Palestinian refugee camp in the blockaded enclave, also called for urgent action to help Gazans in their fight against the contagious disease before "the situation gets out of control."

It also called on the international community to supply the besieged people of Gaza with ventilators, necessary medicine and laboratory test material to better fight the disease and save more lives.

The COVID-19 disease, caused by a new coronavirus, was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and has currently affected 205 countries and territories across the globe. So far, more than 1,139,120 people have tested positive. Over 61,140 have died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

Official figures by Palestine's Health Ministry shows that as of Saturday, 210 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one individual has died so far. A dozen of the infected people are in Gaza, home to nearly two million people, and the rest are in the occupied West Bank.

The majority of population of Gaza lives in tightly packed refugee camps, where social distancing is hardly feasible and the new coronavirus can rampage there if necessary safety measures are not taken.

On Thursday, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which runs Gaza, held the Israeli regime "fully responsible" for the consequences of any COVID-19 outbreak in the enclave.

Gaza has been under an Israeli siege through air, land and sea since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies Gazans their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

Since 2008, Israel has waged three wars against Gaza and thousands of Gazans have been killed in each of these deadly wars.

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