Gaza Strip: Corona-danger behind the fence
BERLIN, (BM) – On Friday, the “Roads to Islam” page reported that Gaza was the only place on earth where Friday prayer was held “because Gaza is free of the Corona virus”.
This was followed by a message the following day, which probably breaks off unintentionally, but at a significant point: “The World Health Organization announced yesterday that Gaza is a country that is completely free from Corona virus and that its prevention …”
How should preventive measures work in a densely populated area with 1.3 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants? 200 “test kits” were dispatched to the Gaza Strip on Friday March 13th. Since then, no announcement has been made about further deliveries.
Yesterday, two infected people in the Gaza Strip were reported. This is a small number, but due to the extraordinary conditions in Gaza, which is particularly exposed to the “Iron Wall Doctrine” (Avi Shlaim), it triggers an alarm.
Differences between the privileged and the disadvantaged
Two million people live in the Gaza Strip behind a “security fence” (gated nation: Israel continues to wall in) on 375 square kilometers. Converted to a square kilometer, that’s 6,000 people who live together in the smallest of spaces. The situation in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where 140,000 Palestinian refugees live on 1.4 square kilometers, is even more risky for contagion. That is 82,000 people per square kilometer.
The gap between the privileged and the disadvantaged is particularly acute in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The magazine +972 makes a comparison: On the other side of the border fence, in Israeli territory, the density ranges from “zero to 500 people per square kilometer”. The imprisoned residents of the Gaza Strip – the border crossings to Israel and Egypt have been closed since 2007 – are facing a disaster, according to the + 972 author Jehad Abusalim.
At least 300 to 400 doctors would be needed to meet the most necessary medical care needs. Doctors and nursing staff were among the people who took Reißaus before the hardships in the Gaza Strip – supposedly 35,000 since 2018. These hardships and difficulties, which come into focus in view of the possible spread of covid 19, are based on already disastrous basic conditions: major problems with drinking water and electricity supply, which medical organizations have long been pointing out.
The two infected are said to have entered the Gaza Strip via Egypt. It is said that they were in Pakistan. They are now being treated, their contacts are limited and manageable, Reuters notes, with the number of contacts unknown.
Previously, there were fears about 700 civilians who allegedly entered Egypt from a pilgrimage from Saudi Arabia to the Gaza Strip via Egypt and are now in quarantine.
Schools, markets and halls for public gatherings in the Gaza Strip have been closed over the past two weeks, and it is expected that Friday prayers will also no longer be held.
The spread of Sars-CoV-2 in the West Bank and Israel
57 cases of infected people from the West Bank were announced yesterday, accompanied by reports of 17 corvid-19 cases that have recovered. A lockdown was imposed on the area last night. As in other countries, incumbent Palestinian President Abbas has issued an amnesty for detainees who have already served half of their sentence and are only in prison for an offense.
In Israel, there are reports of 1,238 people infected with Sars-CoV-2 on Monday morning – an increase of 135 cases overnight. Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to tighten lockdown regulations.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, 5,000 tests were distributed within 24 hours. It will be interesting to see when the supply of tests to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be increased.
Arab citizens of Israel complained, according to a live ticker report from the newspaper Ha’aretz, which has been dealing for weeks with even sharper attacks by the political right in Israel, that they would also be treated like second-class citizens in the Corona crisis.
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Editorial team / Heise / Thomas Pany
Original title: Gaza: Corona-Gefahr hinter dem Zaun
The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.