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Iran Press TV

Russia sends 1st medical aid shipment to Syria to help it combat COVID-19: Ministry

Iran Press TV

Friday, 17 April 2020 10:07 PM

Syria says it has received the first shipment of medical aid from Russia to help Damascus curb the current COVID-19 pandemic in the Arab country.

Syria's Health Ministry announced the news in a statement, carried on Syria's official news agency SANA, saying that the first batch of medical aid, which was received from Russian on Friday, contained supplies for detecting COVID-19 disease and treating patients suffering from it as well as protective equipment for medical staff.

According to the statement, the first Russian shipment included 50 respirators, some 10,000 COVID-19 test kits, 1,000 multi-use protective suits, and 1,000 single-use protective suits.

The ministry added that the second batch of medical aid from Russia would contain 150 respirators scheduled to arrive on April 20

The COVID-19 disease, caused by a new coronavirus, was transmitted from wildlife to people in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has affected 210 countries and territories across the globe and has so far infected more than 2,231,950 people and killed over 153,250.

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

Official figures by Syria's Health Ministry shows that as of Friday, 38 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and two others have died in the war-ravaged country.

Russia's first shipment of medical aid to Syria arrived in the Arab country more than a week after Damascus officially asked Moscow to help it in its fight against the contagious disease.

Syria's appeal for help from close ally Russia comes as the war-torn Arab country has since 1979 been under rounds of unilateral and crippling economic sanctions by the United States. The country has also been battling a foreign-backed militancy since 2011.

Earlier this month, Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari sent a letter to the world body, reiterating a call by Damascus for the immediate and unconditional lifting of all the US economic sanctions.

A day prior to the arrival of the aid shipment from Moscow, Russian Ambassador to Damascus Aleksandr Yefimov, for his part, had called for the lifting of sanctions against Syria, stressing that the restrictive measures obstruct the Arab country's battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"Even though the national health care system has been severely affected as a result of the war and unjust Western sanctions, Syria has successfully mobilized all its potentials and resources to fight COVID-19," Yefimov said in an exclusive interview with the Arabic service of Russia's Sputnik news agency.

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