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Medical institutions and organizations establish national team to respond to COVID-19, Northern Syria; Humanitarian organizations put pressure on Aleppo Health Directorate

Editing: Jaffar Al-aga |
TranslationEditor: Glory Jabr |
Translation: Muhammad Ghaith

Syria - SMART

Syria registered new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19). At the sametime, the Syrian Interim Government’ s Health Ministry, the Idlib and Aleppo Health directorates, and the representative of the health directorates in the field of medical coordination formed a team to respond to the pandemic, especialy after humanitarian organizations put pressure on the Aleppo Health Directorate to join the Idlib Health Directorate.

Cases of COVID-19 increase in Syria;

On Tuesday, the Syrian government’s Health Ministry registered three new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, bringing the total of registered cases to 42.

The ministry stated that the total of the cases of COVID-19 has reached 42 so far. The ministry added that six of the cases recovered, while three died. 

On Tuesday night, a Syrian refugee died from COVID-19 in Turkey. Sources from the refugee’s relatives reported to SMART that the young man Basel al-Hajini, who is from the city of al-Tabaqa in al-Raqqa, died in a hospital in Istanbul due to COVID-19. 

Syrian Interim Government forms team to respond to COVID-19:

On Tuesday, medical institutions and organizations in Northern Syria announced an initiative to form the National Response Team for COVID-19 pandemic. 

The team’s founders issued a statement saying that the team is a group of formal and civil institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations and units that directly work in the medical sector in Northwestern and Eastern Syria. 

The team included the Syrian Interim Government’s Health Ministry, the Idlib and Aleppo Health Directorates, the representative of health directorates in the medical coordination sector, Coordinating Assistance Union, the Syrian Civil Defense, Stabilization Assistance Unit, coordinator of Turkish Health Ministry, local councils’ unit, Syria's Vaccination Team, Doctors Union, and six other Syrian medical organizations.

The statement said that the aim of the team is to coordinate efforts and follow up the plan of national response to fight COVID-19 and ensure the involvement of human, financial, and cognitive resources to make the plan succeed.  

The team’s founders added that they took practical and organizational steps such as forming work groups to conduct the plan outlined to fight COVID-19 in coordination with the World Health Organization in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

The statement stressed the necessity for conducting the response plans as soon as possible due to the condition of medical infrastructure, which was destroyed by bombings from the Syrian government forces and their allies, the fruitless international intervention, poor funding, and the international community’s involvement with COVID-19.

The statement called on international institutions and formal and governmental agencies to cooperate with the team to save Northern Syria from further suffering.

The Syrian Interim Government’s Free Police imposed a curfew on children and elderly people in the Jindayris area, 45 kilometers west of Aleppo, Northern Syria.

Fadi Hamzeh, a media worker of the Military Police in the area reported to SMART that the curfew includes children aged up to 12 years old and elderly people aged from 65 years old and older.

Hamzeh added that the curfew contributes to the Syrian Interim Government’s decision to take precautionary procedures against COVID-19. 

Humanitarian organizations put pressure on Aleppo Health Directorate:

On Wednesday, a source from the Aleppo Health Directorate reported to SMART that supporting humanitarian organizations put pressure on the Aleppo Health Directorate to join the Free Idlib Health Directorate by refusing to fund medical projects such as building a quarantine center for people infected with COVID-19 in Aleppo.  

On April 20, 2020, the Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia free health directorates in Northern and Western Syria denounced the policy of exclusion and humanitarian support conditioned upon special political aims to subdue the directorates. 

The source added that the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the Violet Organization claimed that media failure by the Free Aleppo Health Directorate prevented providing the project with necessary support. The source added that the organizations insisted on the directorate to join the Free Idlib Health Directorate.

The source noted that the problem arose with the start of the COVID-19 crisis, as the Idlib and Aleppo free health directorates prepared two quarantine centers in Kafr Karmin and Darat Izza, western Aleppo in accordance to World Health Organization’s standards; however, only the center of Kafr Karmin received support because it belongs to the Idlib governorate.

On Monday, the directorates issued a statement saying that they face policy of marginalization and negligence by organizations and individuals to dismanage and subdue infrastructure and human resources to the Free Idlib Health Directorate. The directorates noted that the organisations threatened to suspend humanitarian support if the directorates reject the organizations' conditions and stick to independence. 

Asayish forces release prisoners to prevent COVID-19 spread:

The Autonomous Administration’s Asayish security forces released prisoners in the al-Raqqa governorate, Northeastern Syria, as a precautionary procedure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A military source from the Autonomous Administration reported to SMART that the Asayish forces released 20 prisoners from the Central Prison of al-Raqqa fearing that prisoners infected with COVID-19.

The source noted that most of the released prisoners suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy, and some others are about to finish their sentences. The source added that the Asayish gave the prisoners documents proving they are innocent.

Syria’s neighboring countries register 1,566 cases of recovery from COVID-19 in 24 hours: 

The Turkish Health Ministry registered 119 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total of deaths to 2,259. 

The ministry issued a statement saying that they registered 4,611 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 95,591, including 14,918 cases of recovery after 1,488 infected people recovered on Tuesday.

The Iraqi Health Ministry registered 28 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 1,602. 

The ministry issued a statement saying that laboratories registered 28 new cases of COVID-19, eight in Medicine City, 11 in al-Basra, seven in al-Rusafa, and two in al-Muthanna. 

The statement added that the ministry registered one death; however, 53 infected people recovered. The total of infected people reached 1,602, including 83 deaths and 1,096 cases of recovery. 

A source from the Jordanian Health Ministry reported to SMART that they did not register any cases of COVID-19 in Jordan today, rather they registered three cases of trucks drivers coming through borders. The source added that two of the drivers are jordanian, while the third is a foreigner. 

The source added that the total of infected people in Jordan reached 428. The source said that 25 infected people recovered, bringing the total of people who recovered to 308.

On Dec. 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has infected more than 2.5 million people until April 22, 2020  in more than 210 countries, about 179,000 of them died, and 700,000 recovered, 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.