A second wave of Covid-19 has hit the Gaza Strip with devastating effect

An empty classroom due to the Gaza lockdown

Eman Abusidu reports in Middle East Monitor:

The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is worsening as health officials report more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases daily. They warn of a healthcare catastrophe under an Israeli-led blockade that restricts medical imports, among many other things. The impact of the pandemic is devastating in such a closed environment.

To make matters worse, the deadly and rapidly-spreading British variant of the virus hit the Gaza Strip in late March. With almost 2 million Palestinians living in what has been described as the world’s largest open-air prison, 83,287 have been infected with Covid-19, of whom 694 have died.

In light of Gaza’s increased rate of infection, a harsh lockdown has been imposed to try to curb the spread of the virus. It includes a complete curfew in all governorates of the Gaza Strip, covering schools, mosques, markets, and other public facilities. Life has more or less shut down, with roads closed to reinforce the lockdown, and field hospitals set up in the south of the territory. The total closures begin every Thursday at 9 pm and lasts until Sunday morning for an indefinite period. The government is evaluating the situation constantly.

The head of the Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza, Salama Maroof, told me that, “The government’s plan has become clear, and it has been implemented since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. Whenever we witness an increase in the number of cases, we tighten precautionary measures, trying as much as possible to impose some balance between the pandemic and the general conditions that govern our society.”

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