WHO to test for coronavirus in northwest Syria
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will begin testing for COVID-19 in opposition northwest Syria this week, according to a Reuters report on Monday.
Syria's war, which last week entered its 10th year, is now concentrated in the northwest province of Idlib. The last rebel-held territory standing, Idlib has been ruthlessly targeted by regime forces.
With nearly a million Syrians displaced to crowded and exposed makeshift camps, the conflict rendered hundreds of thousands vulnerable to the coronavirus.
According to Reuters, only about half of medical facilities in rebel-held Syria are operational.
"We are hoping... to have the machinery and the tests sometime this week so we can start testing," said Dr. Rick Brennan, emergency director for the region, told Reuters. "And we are very concerned. All of the surrounding countries have documented cases."
Despite all its regional neighbours struggling with epidemics of their own, the Syrian regime denies any presence of coronavirus in the country.
The regime implemented preventative measures last week, such as postponing parliamentary elections, shuttering academic institutions and banning shisha pipes in public places.
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