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Rights groups call for medical resources for Gaza to face coronavirus 

March 19, 2020 at 10:59 am

A Palestinian doctor performs a medical examination in Gaza on 10 March 2020 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]

Rights groups operating in the Gaza Strip called on Wednesday for Israel to allow medical equipment and medicines needed for the fight against coronavirus to be allowed into the besieged enclave.

“The Israeli authorities are legally responsible [as the occupying power] for providing Gaza with the medical equipment needed in the fight against coronavirus,” explained the Executive Director of Himaya Centre for Human Rights, Omar Al-Qaroot. “Despite this, Israel is still imposing restrictions on the entry of medical resources which are needed urgently to curb the outbreak of the virus.”

Speaking on behalf of all rights groups in the Gaza Strip, Al-Qaroot called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to abide by its legal obligations towards the residents of the occupied Palestinian territories. This includes the lifting of the blockade imposed on Gaza and allowing desperately-needed medical assistance for the seriously-depleted health sector.

READ: Hamas builds coronavirus isolation facilities in Gaza

Al-Qaroot also called for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to open a regional centre in the Palestinian territories to monitor the spread of the disease.

The Gaza Strip has entered the 14th year of a strict Israeli-led siege which has caused severe shortages of basic items, especially in the health sector where medicines, medical equipment and resources are currently estimated to be at just 45 per cent of essential levels.