Syria builds new Covid ward, prepares for second wave
Syria is preparing for a second wave of coronavirus cases, after a devastating first outbreak earlier this year led to huge - if under-reported - death toll in the country.
The Syrian regime is converting a sports complex in the capital into a new Covid-19 ward, according to BBC news, as fears of a second wave mount.
New in-patients could be sent to the Al-Faiha Stadium, which is being converted into a 120-bed temporary hospital with capacity for 100 more.
An emergency management room is also being established to respond to the crisis after a rise in Covid cases and fears that a devastating second wave is well on its way.
Senior health official Dr Tawfiq Hasaba told Syrian state news that the ministry is expecting a new outbreak in winter but that the new measures the government is taking "provide appropriate services to coronavirus patients in the event of a new climax".
The Syrian regime is not expected to enforce another lockdown on territories under its control, a step that briefly arrested the spread of Covid earlier this year but caused huge financial hardship for citizens.
The virus eventually ripped through most areas of Syria causing a huge numbers of deaths, despite official figures remaining low.
Researchers at Imperial College London have claimed that as few as 1.25 percent of Covid-19 deaths in Damascus were acknowledged, the BBC reported.
Doctors in regime areas had anonymously spoken about the huge strain the disease had caused health services, while there were reports of mass secret burials of Covid victims.
Other areas of the country have also been hit hard by the Covid epidemic, including Northeast Syria, which is outside regime control.
Health officials also fear outbreaks in opposition areas of Idlib and Aleppo provinces could lead to immense death tolls due to the densely packed camps that inhabit the area.
The Syrian opposition authority in Al-Bab warned this week that the northwest city had become a "disaster area" due to the spread of Covid-19.
Healthcare officials have also warned that years of regime and Russian bombing of hospitals and clinics in Idlib will likely see doctors struggling to cope with a major Covid-19 outbreak.