Gaza confirms first coronavirus death

Maya Oppenheim

The Independent  /  May 24, 2020

35 new Covid-19 cases have emerged in coastal enclave.

A woman has died from coronavirus in the Gaza Strip – marking the first death in the Palestinian territory since the pandemic started.

The health ministry said the 77-year-old woman had suffered from a chronic illness prior to contracting Covid-19.

She had made the trip to Gaza via Egypt on 19 May and had been in quarantine to curb the spread of coronavirus, officials at the ministry said.

Authorities say 35 new coronavirus cases have emerged in Gaza in recent days which makes the total estimated number 55.

All of those who have tested positive for the virus have recently returned from outside Gaza and are currently quarantining in sites at the border.

Experts have previously warned a coronavirus flare-up in Gaza would prove disastrous due to a severe shortage of personal protective gear, ventilators and medicine.

The enclave is home to two million people but only has roughly 60 ventilators.​

The International Committee of the Red Cross predicts healthcare services, which has been weakened by a blockade implemented by Israel and Egypt, could only be able to handle 100 to 150 serious cases at the same time.

Gyms, schools, and wedding halls have been shut in Gaza but there has not been a total lockdown.​

Mosques were allowed to open their doors to the public for Friday prayers for the first time since March.

Maya Oppenheim is The Independent’s Women’s Correspondent