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Syrian government imposes quarantine on towns south of Damascus for fear of COVID-19

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Editing: Obaida Al Nabwani |
Translation: Glory Jabr

Rif Dimashq - SMART

The Syrian government forces imposed quarantine on a number of towns in Rif Dimashq near the Set Zaynab area, without an official announcement, for fear of the outbreak of coronavirus (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.

On April 4, the Syrian government imposed a quarantine on the city of Sednayah, north of Damascus, on suspicion that there are infection cases with COVID-19. On April 2, the Syrian government imposed a quarantine on the Set Zaynab area in Damascus, on suspicion of infection cases with COVID-19. On April 1, the Health Ministry imposed a quarantine on the town of Ain Minin, north of Damascus, after registring the death of a woman from the town due to COVID-19.

On March 22, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was officially registered in the Syrian government-controlled city of Damascus, and then the number of registered cases gradually increased to 19, including two deaths.

On March 24, 2020, the Syrian government issued a partial curfew from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am in its controlled areas to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19, starting from March 25, 2020, until further notice. In early April, the Syrian government issued another decision to increase the curfew hours on Fridays and Saturdays, for an additional six hours.

On Dec. 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has infected about 1,400,000 people so far around the world, 83,000 of them died, while about 308,000 recovered, according to the (Worldmeteres).

According to the latest statistics, the death toll worldwide from COVID-19 has so far reached about 5.7 percent of the total registered infection cases, while the percentage of recovered cases reached about 21 percent.

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.