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Syrian government imposes quarantine on towns in vicinity of Damascus due to COVID-19; COVID-19 kills seven people in Aleppo

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

Syria - SMART

The Syrian government continues to obscure the spread of SARS-CoV-2 that causes coronavirus (COVID-19), as it imposed quarantine on towns in the vicinity of Damascus without an official announcement. However, the unofficial total of deaths increased in Aleppo, the second largest Syrian city. 

As a result of the Syrian government’s media blackout policy, the Autonomous Administration accused the Syrian government of sending people infected with COVID-19 to its controlled areas in Northeastern Syria. People in camps in Northeastern Syria suffer due to poor economic conditions like the majority of Syrians; therefore, they appealed to parties in control to provide aid for them.

Syrian government imposes quarantine on towns, south of Damascus:

The Syrian government forces imposed quarantine on towns in Rif Dimashq near the Set Zaynab area, without an official announcement, for fear of the outbreak of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, local sources and activists reported to SMART that the Syrian government forces closed the towns of Babbila, Yalda, Beit Sahem, al-Buwaydah, and the road between Hujayrah and al-Sabinah, with earthen berms, preventing anyone from entering these towns for fear of transmission of COVID-19. 

The sources added that no cases of COVID-19 have been registered so far in these towns; however, some activists published reports on infection cases in the town of al-Thiabiya, south of Damascus, where people died from the disease, without specifying their number.

The sources stated that people in these towns are suffering from lack of food and high prices due to quarantine, as the price of a bread bag in those towns reached 700 Syrian pounds. Also, there have been no gas in these towns for 20 days.

Unofficial statistics indicate seven deaths due to COVID-19 in Aleppo:

A medical source at the University Hospital in the Syrian government-controlled city of Aleppo, Northern Syria, said that the number of deaths from COVID-19 increased to seven.

The source reported to SMART that seven people, including three women, died from COVID-19, and that tests showed six new infection cases of COVID-19. The source added that the infected people were put in the quarantine of the University Hospital.

The source stated that the number of infected people in quarantine at the University Hospital reached 52, including 22 women and eight children. The source added that there are 44 infected people, including 13 women and three children in the Al-Razi Hospital, while 15 people recovered from the disease.

The source noted that they transferred 77 infected people to the Al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus, as the Health Ministry turned the Al-Fayhaa Stadium into a quarantine.

Autonomous Administration accuses Syrian government of sending people infected with COVID-19 to Northeastern Syria:

On Wednesday, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration operating in Northeastern Syria stated that it holds the Syrian government responsible for the entry of people infected with COVID-19 into its controlled areas.

The Autonomous Administration said in a statement, "The Syrian authorities do not want to cooperate and their wrong decisions endanger the lives of our people in Northern and Eastern Syria, by entering civilians to those areas without our knowledge and without conducting the necessary tests to ensure their safety."

The Health Authority of the Autonomous Administration held the Syrian government authorities responsible for any infection cases in its controlled areas, as they failed to comply with the rules and procedures for prevention by allowing the movement of travelers.

Syrian government stops exporting medicine that alleviates symptoms of COVID-19:

The Syrian government decided to prevent exporting painkillers and antipyretics that are used to alleviate symptoms of COVID-19. 

The Syrian government’s Health Ministry said that the decision prevents exporting medicine, including Azithromycin, Chloroquine, Sytamol, Parasytamol, and antipyretics until further notice, as a procedure to fight COVID-19 and in order to keep these drugs available in local pharmacies. 

Displaced people appeal to Autonomous Administration to provide them with aid:

Displaced people in camps, western al-Raqqa, Northeastern Syria appealed to the Autonomous Administration to provide them with essential food materials after they stopped working due to the curfew that the Autonomous Administration imposed to fight COVID-19. 

On Wednesday, residents of the al-Rasheed camp reported to SMART that most of the people in camps depend on daily work to earn a living, and after the curfew decision they stopped working, hence lost their incomes.  

The residents added that these people receive no aid by the Autonomous Administration or relief organizations. The residents noted that the displaced people live amidst the lack of essential materials such as food and medicine.  

Residents in Eastern Ghouta, Southern Syria, complained about the lack of fuel and food materials amidst significant high prices since the Syrian government has imposed the curfew on March 24, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects prices of essential materials:

On Wednesday, local sources reported that the major shortage lies in fuel, especially diesel, as families have not received fuel so far. The families were supposed to receive fuel via smart card since mid-March 2020.

The sources added that the prices of food increased significantly. The price of potatoes reached 1,000 SYP per kilo, the price of marrow 800 SYP, the price of cooking oil reached 1,800 SYP per litre, the price of olive oil container reached 45,000.  

Civilians from Eastern Ghouta noted that the Syrian government forces members exploited the state of curfew and increased its hours to more restrict the people. The civilians added that the members prevent anyone from Ghouta from entering Damascus. The civilians noted that the Syrian government threatens to imprison or impose a 500,000 SYP fine on anyone who violates the curfew.

COVID-19 continues to spread in Syria’s neighboring country as Turkey registers highest statistics:

On Tuesday, the Turkish Health Ministry confirmed 3,892 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 34,109. 

The ministry issued a statement saying that they conducted tests for 20,023 people, as results confirmed that 3,892 people are infected with SARS-CoV-2, bringing the total of infected people to 34,109.

Fahrettin Koca, the Turkish Health Minister said that 67 infected people died, bringing the total of deaths to 725; however, 256 people recovered, bringing the total of the people who recovered to 1,582.

The Lebanese Health Ministry confirmed 27 new cases of COVID-19.

The ministry added that they registered 27 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 575. The deaths increased to 18.

The Lebanese Information Ministry stated that 29 of the people infected with COVID-19 are in a critical condition. The ministry added that the Health Ministry registered 62 cases of recovery, as it tested 10,808 people and quarantined 1,260 others for suspected infection. 

The number of COVID-19 cases increased to 353 in Jordan.

The Jordanian Health Ministry posted on social media that they registered four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 353. The ministry added that the deaths increased to six; however, 138 infected people recovered.

The Iraqi Health Ministry registered 91 new cases of COVID-19.

The ministry posted on social media that the number of infected people increased to 1,122 following 91 new cases in the cities of Baghdad, al-Rusafa, al-Karkh, Medicine City, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Duhok, al-Basra, Dhi-Qar, Wasit, Diyala, al-Muthanna, and al-Najaf al-Ashraf in which 44 out of the new cases were diagnosed.

The ministry added that the deaths increased to 65 after a person died in Medicine City; however, 29 people recovered, bringing the total of the people who recovered to 373. 

On Dec. 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has infected about 1,500,000 people until April 8, 2020 in more than 206 countries, about 84,000 of them died, according to the (Worldometer).

COVID-19 is an infectious disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2, that spreads 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 special treatment.