The Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital in the occupied Gaza Strip has started operations in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus, the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s spokesperson announced yesterday.
“The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed in a phone call to start [operating] the hospital in Gaza,” Ibrahim Melhem told reporters in Ramallah.
Melhem thanked the Turkish government and citizens for their “continued support to the Palestinian people.”
The hospital’s construction, which was funded by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) governmental department, was completed in 2017. It is set to be one of the largest hospitals in Palestine built on a total area of 34,800 square metres, consisting of six floors and a capacity of 180 beds.
The PA recently reported 117 coronavirus cases, including 10 in Gaza. The first cases were discovered on 5 March in Bethlehem after a number of Palestinians mixed with Greek tourists, some of whom were found to be infected after returning to their country.
Gaza’s health system has been badly affected by Israel’s 13-year blockade amid a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment.
So far, the number of infected worldwide has reached 872,830, more than 43,000 have died, and 184,581 have recovered. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.