Gaza’s health system on the verge of being overwhelmed by coronavirus, health advisers say

SourceThe Independent
CountryMiddle east

A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the territory’s meagre medical system next week, public health advisers have warned. Some 14,000 people have become infected with Covid-19 in the Palestinian enclave and 65 have died so far – with most of the infections occurring after August. “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,” said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave’s pandemic task force. He said that 79 of Gaza's 100 ventilators have been taken up by Covid-19 patients and that the current 0.05 percent mortality rate among the region’s coronavirus patients could rise. Gaza is one of the world’s densest areas, with a population of 1.85 million packed into 365 square kilometres – a fact that could make it more vulnerable to contagions.

Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers have so far imposed one lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.  People in Gaza are also poorer than their neighbours in Israel, the country that indirectly controls the territory through a siege started in 2007. Israel controls Gaza’s maritime and air space and six of its more...