Syria on brink of further disaster as COVID-19 cases escalate

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Nicole Harris
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Highlights

  • COVID-19 cases have increased twenty fold in the past 3 months
  • Hospitals have been instructed to stop taking in COVID-19 patients
  • Funding desperately needed to increase testing and strengthen health system capacity
Syria COVID-19 response
Our hygiene promotion team and volunteers have been conducting public awareness campaigns in northern Syria on COVID-19 infections, in addition to preclinical symptoms and prevention measures to combat coronavirus.

SEATTLE — (July 31, 2020) Christian humanitarian organization, World Vision, today warned that thousands are at considerable risk as COVID -19 cases increase in Syria; a country already demolished by almost ten years of war. This warning came as the NGO launched a report that documents the first 100 days of its global response to COVID-19.

Official figures show that cases have increased twenty fold in the past three months from 29 cases in May to 608 cases to date.

“We have already heard reports that the increase in cases has overwhelmed the capacity of local hospitals, with the Ministry of Health instructing hospitals in Damascus and rural Damascus to stop taking in COVID-19 patients.” said Johan Mooij, Syria Response Director at World Vision.

World Vision is extremely concerned about cases increasing in Northwest Syria where thousands of people forced to flee their homes because of conflict are crammed in barely livable conditions inside displacement camps. The figures there officially stand at 30, however, according to health experts on the ground [1]this could rapidly increase. Doctors and nurses are also reported to be infected with COVID-19.

“As we witness global cases rising to over 16 million, we must be aware that in some of the world’s most vulnerable places, the virus isn’t even close to reaching its peak. In Syria, projected cases and deaths will be particularly severe among those who have fled conflict and are now living in camps. Much of the infrastructure has been destroyed and health services are skeletal. As cases increase, the already weak health system will soon be overwhelmed.” said Mooij.

World Vision’s 100 Days On – Covid-19 Response report reflects how the international organization adapted to remote response coordination, scaled up community, health worker, and faith leader mobilization and reimagined displacement operations inside camps. By doing this they reached 44 million people, almost half of them children, with essential aid and secondary impact support.

The international NGO is calling on global leaders to facilitate unfettered humanitarian access and urgently provide funding to increase testing and strengthen health system capacity in places where many will otherwise be left to die.

1) Hariri, M., Rihawi, H., Safadi, S., McGlasson, M. and Obaid, W., 2020. THE COVID-19 FORECAST IN NORTHWEST SYRIA The Imperative of Global Action to Avoid Catastrophe.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.