Coronavirus: worrying increase in the number of cases in the Gaza Strip

Audio 1:16

Police stand guard outside a mosque on Friday, May 22, 2020, in the northern Gaza Strip, when there is fear of an outbreak of the epidemic in this enclave under Israeli blockade. REUTERS / Mohammed Salem

Text by: Alice Froussard

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Gaza Strip has been largely spared. Hamas had even relaxed measures allowing the opening of restaurants and cafes since the start of Ramadan. But in recent days, the situation has changed: 35 new cases have been reported, including 25 this Thursday.


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From our correspondent in Ramallah,

In Gaza, cafes and restaurants had already found their customers. Then, for the prayers of this last Friday of Ramadan, the mosques reopened. There are always precautions to follow: everyone must bring their own mat and respect the safety distances.

But in town, life continues almost as before. Everything is absolutely normal," says Nizar, a resident. People are walking around, they are leaving their house and are not really paying attention. "

Read also: Coronavirus: in Ramallah, life starts again for the Ramadan races

Yet this week the number of people with coronavirus in the coastal enclave has more than doubled. In question ? The return of residents who were stranded abroad. About 1,500 of them have been cleared to pass through the Rafah checkpoint at the Egyptian border.

An official with the Ministry of Health in Gaza says that all of the people are in quarantine. But on site, we fear a contagion. People are afraid that someone, by mistake or by some other means could have been infected, that he has left," continues Azar. And since the people here live their lives as if nothing was happening, it could be very complicated in a very short time. "

In any case, this is confirmed by an investigation and several sources in Gaza. Thursday evening, a senior official of Hamas, the Islamist organization in power, had even considered the option of a curfew for the festival of Eid where it is customary to visit all his family.

The Gaza Strip had recorded fewer than 20 cases of coronavirus for months, its borders with Egypt and Israel being closed to prevent the spread of the virus.

Read also: In Gaza, the prospect of a spread of the coronavirus worries

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  • Palestinian territories
  • Coronavirus
  • Health and Medicine
  • Gaza

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