Gaza declares COVID-19 disaster with health system near collapse

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Medical workers in Gaza face a serious shortage of equipment to battle the quickly spreading COVID-19 outbreak. (photo: Walid Mahmoud / Al Jazeera)
With a lack of ventilators, PPE, and medicine, officials say Israel’s siege is a ‘death sentence’ for Gaza’s coronavirus patients.

By Walid Mahmoud  | Al Jazeera  |  Nov 23, 2020

Early hopes that Gaza’s isolation would spare it from the pandemic were dashed as the densely populated coastal region came under severe threat with a dilapidated healthcare system that is unable to handle the onslaught of patients.

Gaza City – A rapid rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip has reached a “catastrophic stage”, with the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s medical system likely to collapse soon, health officials warn.

COVID is spreading exponentially in Gaza – one of the most crowded places on Earth – especially in refugee camps, and the health ministry has warned of “disastrous” implications.

Dr. Fathi Abuwarda, adviser to the minister of health, told Al Jazeera the recent spike in infections could soon become uncontrollable, with hundreds of people contracting the virus each day and nowhere to treat them.

“We have entered the catastrophe stage and if we continue like this, the healthcare system will collapse,” Abuwarda said. “The best solution is a full lockdown for 14 days, which will allow medical teams to control and combat the virus, with only shops that provide food supplies kept open.”

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