אנשי ביטחון מסיירים בעיר עם עם מסכות נגד הקורונה
Security forces in full protective gear in the Gaza Strip during COVID-19 pandemic
Photo: EPA
Security forces in full protective gear in the Gaza Strip during COVID-19 pandemic

Gaza health system 'days' from being overwhelmed by COVID-19

With 79 of 100 ventilators taken up by COVID-19 patients, Palestinian enclave's healthcare apparatus may soon become unable to care for critical cases as age of patients rises; Israel enabling humanitarian aid to reach Strip

Reuters |
Published: 11.22.20 , 15:55
A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave's meager medical system by next week, public health advisers said on Sunday.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Gaza, where the dense and poor population of 2 million is vulnerable to contagions, has logged 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths, mostly since August.
    אנשי ביטחון מסיירים בעיר עם עם מסכות נגד הקורונהאנשי ביטחון מסיירים בעיר עם עם מסכות נגד הקורונה
    Security forces in full protective gear in the Gaza Strip during COVID-19 pandemic
    (Photo: EPA)
    Seventy-nine of Gaza's 100 ventilators have been taken up by COVID-19 patients, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave's pandemic task force.
    "In 10 days the health system will become unable to absorb such a hike in cases and there might be cases that will not find a place at intensive care units," he said, adding that the current 0.05% mortality rate among COVID-19 patients could rise.
    Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers have so far imposed one lockdown. A long-standing Israeli blockade, supported by neighboring Egypt and introduced after Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave, has crippled the Gazan economy and undermined its public health apparatus.
    נפילת הרקטה באזור התעשייה באשקלוןנפילת הרקטה באזור התעשייה באשקלון
    Storage warehouse in the southern city of Ashkelon hit by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
    Israel says it is trying to keep weapons from reaching Hamas, against which it has fought three wars and whose facilities it struck earlier on Sunday in retaliation for a rocket launch at the southern city of Ashkelon.
    "We are not giving Hamas any 'coronavirus discounts'," Minister of Science and Technology Izhar Shay told Army Radio. "We will continue responding as [we see] appropriate."
    בית חולים שדה ברפיחבית חולים שדה ברפיח
    A coronavirus ward set up at a field hospital in southern Gaza
    But Shay said Israel was enabling international humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, adding: "This is the level that we can preserve in the coronavirus context."
    Abdelnaser Soboh, emergency health lead in the World Health Organization's Gaza sub-office, cautioned, however, that "within a week, we will become unable to care for critical cases."
    The infection rate among those being tested was 21%, with a relative increase in carriers over the age of 60, he said.
    "This is a dangerous indicator since most of [those over 60] may need to be hospitalized," Soboh added.
    Talkbacks for this article 0