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Syrian government admits ten cases of COVID-19, including one death; most of COVID-19 cases in Karbala come from Syria

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Editing: Mohamad Alaa |
TranslationEditor: Glory Jabr |
Translation: Muhammad Ghaith

Turkey - SMART

The Syrian government officially admits ten cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including one death. The United Nations warned of a disaster if the epidemic spreads in Syria, as the Syrian government still hides the real numbers of infected people. 140 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in the city of Aleppo, Northern Syria. The governor of the Iraqi city of Karbala  indirectly confirmed that the vast majority of infected people in Karbala came from Syria.

Cases of COVID-19 reach ten, including one death:

On Sunday, the Syrian government’s Health Ministry registered the first death of COVID-19,  caused by SARS-CoV-2.

The Health Ministry published a statement saying that a woman died as she arrived at the hospital in an emergency condition. After the hospital conducted tests for the woman, the results showed that she was infected with COVID-19. The statement did not specify further details. 

This is the sixth case of COVID-19 that the Syrian government admits. On March 25, 2020, the Syrian government registered four cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of infected people to five. 

The Syrian governments’ Health Ministry registered  four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of infected people to ten. 

The Health Ministry added that the number of infected people is nine along with one death. 

Contrary to few officially confirmed numbers by the Syrian government,on Sunday, a medical source reported to SMART that the number of people infected with COVID-19 reached 140 in the Syrian government-controlled city of Aleppo.

The source operating in the University Hospital in Aleppo added that they received 80 people, including 13 women and ten children infected with COVID-19. The source noted that there are 60 people, including 18 women and 22 children infected with COVID-19 in the al-Razi Hospital, which conducted tests that confirmed they are infected with COVID-19.

The source added that there are 15 other people suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Doctors took blood samples from the people and sent them to laboratories in Damascus, and quarantined the people until the results are issued.

The source noted that quarantine includes three sections, the first is to check up patients, the second is to take blood samples and send them to Damascus, and the third is for people whose tests’ results confirmed their infection with COVID-19. 

Most of COVID-19 cases in Karbala come from Syria:

Naseif al-Khattabi, the governor of the Iraqi city of Karbala announced 11 cases of COVID-19, most of them came from Syria. 

In a video on his Facebook account, al-Khattabi added that the vast majority of the cases they registered were visiting Shite shrines in Syria. 

Al-Khattabi added that on March 26, 2020, two cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed coming from Syria, then a general warning of medical and security staff dominated Karbala. Al-Khattabi said that they diagnosed all the people who were in Syria. 

Al-Khattabi expressed regret that the Iraqi central crisis cell did not consider Syria one of the countries in which COVID-19 spread, hence they did not give permission to quarantine the people who came from Syria.  

Al-Khattabi added that the crisis cell’s data indicated that Syria is not among the endemic countries and unfortunately this was inaccurate. Al-Khattabi noted that the Syrian government and medical authorities gave no results. 

Al-Khattabi noted that the only procedure applied to people coming from Syria is to recommend they stay home. 

UN warns of disaster due to COVID-19 in Syria:

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic warned of a disaster in Syria if necessary precautionary procedures are not taken against COVID-19. 

Paulo Pinheiro, chair of the committee said in a statement published by the UN, “Syrian civilians now face a deadly threat in the form of the COVID-19 outbreak, one that will strike without distinction and that will be devastating for the most vulnerable in the absence of urgent preventative action. In order to avoid a looming tragedy, the parties must heed the United Nations Secretary-General's and the Special Envoy's calls for a cease-fire – anything short of that will likely condemn large numbers of civilians to preventable deaths.”

Among the communities most vulnerable to COVID-19 are the more than 6.5 million internally displaced Syrians. This includes more than a million civilians, mainly women and children, who have been living in the open or overcrowded tents and makeshift camps along the Syria-Turkey border in Idlib governorate. 

Commissioner Karen AbuZayd urged, "Humanitarian aid, including medical supplies and support, must be allowed to flow to such persons based on need and not political considerations."

Commissioner Hani Megally said, "We reiterate our call to immediately release all those detained arbitrarily or unlawfully, as well as all children, the elderly, the disabled and the infirm without delay."

Authorities take further precautionary procedures to prevent COVID-19 amidst lack of sterilizers:

The Autonomous Administration intends to bury the dead coming from abroad through its controlled crossings in Northeastern Syria, in special cemeteries as a precautionary procedure to fight COVID-19. 

The Joint Presidency of the Autonomous Administration’s Executive Council issued a statement saying that they decided to bury the dead coming from abroad in special cemeteries near crossings to sustain the civilians’ safety and to avoid any infection with COVID-19.

The statement added that travellers who arrive in Syria through Syrian Democratic Forces-controlled crossings are quarantined for 14 days at a center near the border to make sure they are not infected with COVID-19. 

The local council in the city of Mari, 33 kilometers north of Aleppo, suspended work of sections in the city’s hospital as a precautionary procedure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The council issued a statement saying that they decided to close external clinics and postpone all non-emergency surgeries until further notice as precautionary procedure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The local councils in the town of Arshaf and al-Salihiya in the northern Aleppo countryside stopped the weekly street market (Bazar) starting from March 29, 2020 until further notice. 

On Sunday, people complained about the absence of sterilizers and medical alcohol, and the high prices of medical face masks and gloves in the city of Deir al-Zor, Eastern Syria. 

Local sources reported to SMART that they searched for sterilizers and medical alcohol in pharmacies, but they did not find. The sources added that most of the residents wash their hands with water and soap or water mixed with salt to sterilize their hands to fight COVID-19. 

The sources noted that the price of a medical face mask ranged between 400 and 600 Syrian pounds, and the price of a pair of gloves reached 300 SYP. 

Cases of COVID-19 increase in Lebanon and Iraq:

On Sunday, the Lebanese Health Ministry announced that the number of people infected with COVID-19 increased to 438.

The Health Ministry added that the number of confirmed cases in the al-Hariri University Hospital, laboratories of adopted university hospitals, and private laboratories increased to 438 after registering new 26 cases. 

The Health Ministry said that the number of deaths increased to ten after two 80 year-old infected people who suffer from chronic diseases died. One of them died in the hospital of Saint Georgios University Hospital and the other in the Hotel Dieu University Hospital. 

On Sunday, the Iraqi Health Ministry announced 41 cases of COVID-19 within the recent 24 hours, bringing the number of infected people to 547. 

The Health Ministry issued a statement saying that its laboratorios diagnosed 41 new cases of COVID-19. The cases distributed as the following, eight cases in Baghdad, including seven in the al-Rusafa part of the city, one in the Medical city, 11 in the Karbala governorate, eight in al-Basra, five in al-Najaf, eight in Erbil, and one in al-Sulaymaniyah, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

The Health Ministry added that the total number of infected people reached 547, and the number of total recovery cases 143. The deaths reached 42. 

On Dec. 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has infected about 690,000 people until March 29, 2020 in more than 190 countries, 33,000 of them died, according to the (Worldmeteres).

COVID-19 is an infectious disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2, that spread from person-to-person and by respiratory droplets. These droplets fall on surrounding surfaces, so other people could be infected when they touch these surfaces by touching their eyes, noses, or mouths. People could be infected if they inhale droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is important to keep a one-meter distance (three feet) away from infected people. 

Infection symptoms include body aches, blocked nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. The symptoms begin as mild and develop gradually. Some people become infected without showing any symptoms and without feeling ill. About 80% of infected people recover from the disease without any additional treatment.