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Coronavirus: Syrians at risk due to Russia-backed regime’s destruction of health sector

March 25, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Members of the Syrian civil defense group, White Helmets, wearing protective suits, starts to carry out disinfection works around the city as part of precautions against the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Idlib, Syria on 22 March 2020 [İzzeddin İdilbi/Anadolu Agency]

In Syria, civilians are struggling to protect themselves against a potential outbreak of coronavirus in northwestern Syria’s Idlib where regime attacks have decimated the health sector, the White Helmets civil defence group said yesterday.

“Russian and [the] regime’s immoral and inhumane campaigns against Syrians driving them into inhospitable tent life have put more than 4 million civilians at risk of the impending disaster of the spread of coronavirus in northwestern Syria,” the White Helmets wrote yesterday on Twitter.

“In conjunction with the preventive disinfection operations against the coronavirus, the White Helmets teams are visiting people in camps and various towns to provide medical guidelines on prevention to increase societal awareness among civilians about the virus,” the White Helmets also stated.

The World Health Organisation has said testing for the novel coronavirus is to start within days in northwest Syria, amid fears of a disaster if the pandemic reaches overcrowded displacement camps.

According to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which works on the ground in opposition-held northwest Syria, opposition groups tried to limit the movement of people at two checkpoints at the frontline in northern Syria, fearing that infection could spread from government-held areas.

Last Wednesday, Germany announced it has suspended its refugee resettlement programmes due to the coronavirus outbreak and imposed travel restrictions to stem its spread.

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