Palestinian Prisoner in Israeli Jail Contracts Coronavirus

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners confirmed on Wednesday, that a Palestinian prisoner has tested positive for Coronavirus.

The announcement came after prisoner, Noureldin Sarsour, a resident of Betunia town, west of Ramallah city, who is incarcerated in division 14 at Ofer Israeli prison, received test results on Tuesday, showing he is positive for the Coronavirus.

In a statement, issued Wednesday, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-prisoners, held Israeli Prisons Authority (IPA), responsible for the newly-discovered Coronavirus case, calling for the protection of all 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in more than 20 Israeli jails.

The statement read that a team of attorneys, belonging to the committee, informed the Israeli authorities in the Ofer prison about the results of the test, and inquired about Sarsour’s recent contact with other prisoners, fearing the spread of the infectious COVID-19 virus.

“The name of Sarsour has been revealed, only after Sarsour himself had permitted the lawyers to do so. Sarsour has asked the committee’s lawyers to inform his fellow prisoners about his newly-discovered case of Coronavirus”, the statement further noted.

Last week, the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners, inside Israeli jails, demanded all relevant international bodies to pressure the Israeli government to apply precautionary measures to protect the 5,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including those with chronic diseases, women and minors.

It is worth noting that Cairo-based League of 22 Arab States, recently appealed to all concerned international bodies, to pressure Israel for the protection of Palestinian prisoners, in a time the Coronavirus pandemic, has spread through several countries, including the occupation state of Israel itself, where thousands of cases have been reported.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Health in Gaza: 100 ventilators and 140 intensive care beds are urgently needed

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that health has intensified epidemiological surveillance and laboratory samples for hosts in quarantine centers, and conducted 830 examinations of suspected cases during the past March, most of which were negative, indicating that the two cases that were announced on Tuesday evening were discovered during the ongoing laboratory examination of the detainees , And did not come into contact with anyone, and did not show any symptoms, so the total number of cases discovered in the Gaza Strip at the moment is 12 cases so far.

Dr. said. The ability in the evening press briefing, today, that the Ministry of Health and government institutions continue their successive precautionary measures to confront the new Corona virus at all levels in the Gaza Strip, highly appreciating the moral and national responsibility that citizens have in understanding the precautionary measures taken and adhering to them which represent the firewall in the face Corona Virus.

He said: The medical teams are following 1816 health hosts in 27 quarantine centers, among whom 1061 are sick in hotels, health centers and specialized hospitals within the approved preventive measures, reassuring citizens in the Gaza Strip that the health status of all cases infected with the virus is stable and there have been no health changes in The isolation hospital at the Rafah crossing.

Al-Qudra clarified that the cases discovered in the Gaza Strip were all inside the quarantine centers, which confirms the safety of the precautionary measures taken that have immunized the community and that no injuries were recorded inside the residential areas up to this point.

He continued: “The Ministry of Health is working to confront the Corona virus with limited capabilities, which are decreasing on a daily basis, reaching 43% of drugs, 25% of medical consumables, 65% of laboratory supplies, blood banks, and a large lack of sterilizers and protective supplies, which requires the concerned authorities locally, regionally and internationally. Clear and urgent practical measures to provide our health requirements to achieve a better response to the virus. “

He stressed the ability that the Ministry of Health in Gaza urgently needs to provide 100 artificial respirators and 140 intensive care beds to achieve the first response to facing the Corona virus in the event of a virus outbreak. For patients, and its occupancy rate reaches 72% in hospitals, “warning that the delay in the response of the concerned authorities to the distress call launched by the Ministry of Health to provide health requirements to confront the emerging corona virus increases the concern of medical staff working with limited resources and depleted capabilities.

He pointed out that the specialized teams in the Ministry of Health closely follow the factories that work in the manufacture of sterilizers and protective supplies and conform their product to the approved specifications, and also work in cooperation with the relevant government agencies to control the pharmaceutical market, and adhere to the prices approved for citizens.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

Euro-Med Monitor: Israeli Forces’ Incursions and Soldiers’ Behavior Jeopardize Measures to Prevent Outbreak of COVID-19

The Euro-Med Monitor followed with a great concern reports of suspicious behaviors of Israeli soldiers and settlers, during the storming of Palestinian houses, as some of them spat at parked cars, ATMs and shop locks, which raises fears of deliberate attempts to spread the virus and cause panic in the Palestinian society.

Since the Palestinian government has declared a state of emergency in the Palestinian Territories on March 6, 2020, as a preventive measure to control the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor has documented carrying out 207 Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These incursions included the arrest of 191 Palestinians, attacks on dozens of others, and demolishing Palestinian houses. The majority of these operations took place without any preventive measures and without soldiers wearing appropriate masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

During the same period, Israeli settlers carried out 19 infiltrations into Palestinian neighborhoods in the West Bank, along with carrying out attacks on the Palestinian population and their property.

The Euro-Med Monitor considers that Israeli practices hinder Palestinian preventive measures to counter the spread of the virus, and a threat of the quarantine measures and social distancing adopted by the Palestinian Authority, in line with instructions issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Anas Aljerjawi, the Euro-Med regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that the suspicious practices of the Israeli forces during the storming of Palestinian cities would reinforce assumptions of hostility of the Israeli army and settlers against the Palestinian population.

Aljerjawi stressed the need to stop illegal Israeli violations in the Palestinian Territories, especially at a time when the world suffers from the novel Corona pandemic, pointing to the dangerous role of the Israeli incursions in raising the possibility of spreading the infection among the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

The danger of these incursions lies in light of the spread of the Coronavirus in Israel, and the death of 16 Israelis, as 4,500 others tested positive, which means that every incursion of the Israeli forces or settlers represents a potential danger of spreading the virus in the Palestinian areas.

The Euro-Med Monitor indicated that Palestinian detainees face the risk of being infected with the virus as a result of direct contact with Israeli soldiers, or during investigations, as four detainees suspected of being infected were isolated in an Israeli prison.

The Euro-Med Monitor stated that while all countries are trying to ensure security and increase health measures and supplies to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic, on March 26, 2020, the Israeli forces confiscated eight tents in the northern Jordan Valley, two of which were set up as health clinics, and four others were built as shelters for citizens in the event of an emergency.

Since Monday morning, 23 March 2020, the Israeli authorities began deporting thousands of Palestinian workers working in Israel to the West Bank cities through checkpoints, after some of them showed fatigue and high temperatures. Most of the deportations took place without medical examinations or special arrangements with the Palestinian authorities, to ensure that workers are treated and examined upon return to ensure their well-being, which amounts to racial discrimination.

These practices pose a public health threat and makes it easier to spread COVID19 among Palestinians. It is worth noting that the only death because of Coronavirus in the Palestinian Territories was a woman who had been infected by her son, who works in Israel. A large number of the 109 Palestinians infected with Coronavirus were infected during work in Israel or Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Euro-Med Monitor holds Israel, as an occupying Power, fully responsible for these dangerous practices, and demands an immediate cessation of these practices. The Geneva-based organization urged the international community to act and shoulder its responsibilities to protect Palestinians and force Israeli forces to stop incursions that threaten preventive measures taken by the PA to control the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The Euro-Med Monitor called for investigating the suspicious behavior of a number of soldiers and settlers, which appeared to be an attempt to spread the infection and hold those responsible to account.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

15 New Cases Of Coronavirus Cased In West Bank Brings Up Total In Palestine To 134

Photos File

Fifteen new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank on Wednesday, bringing total in West Bank to 122 and in Palestine in general to 134, according to government spokesman Mohammad Milhem.

He said at the daily briefing on the deadly coronavirus pandemic that the 15 cases were of Palestinians who worked at a poultry factory in the Israeli Atarot industrial area in occupied East Jerusalem and live in several West Bank villages.

He said Israel informed the Palestinian Authority of the possibility of the workers being infected and therefore nine of the infected workers who were in one bus were taken straight from the factory to quarantine centers in Ramallah, while the rest have crossed the Israeli military checkpoints on their own, went to their villages and mingled with people before they were detected, which could raise the number of infected after tests are conducted on all those who interacted with the workers.

Two cases were earlier confirmed in the Gaza Strip of women in their 60s, bringing the total in the besieged enclave to 12.

A total of 18 corona cases have recovered and one death in the West Bank.

(Source / 01.04.2020) 

COVID-19 State of Emergency: Powers and Restrictions Under Palestinian and International Law

 The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR): Introduction: On 05 March 2020, the Palestinian President issued a decree declaring a 30-day state of emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Palestine. The Presidential decree bestowed upon the Prime Minister and relevant authorities the powers to “take all necessary measures to combat the threat of COVID-19, protect public health and achieve security and stability.” In suit, the Prime Minister announced several measures that included shutting educational institutions and other official institutions; restrictions on the freedoms of movement and expression; restrictions relevant to mandatory quarantine; and other relevant restrictions.

Through this paper, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) endeavors to demonstrate the Extraordinary powers the state of emergency grants the executive authorities, and the freedoms and rights that cannot be infringed upon during this period. The argument presented herein is based upon Palestine’s international obligations under human rights treaties, particularly the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and the 2003 Palestinian Basic Law (PBL), particularly Title Seven – State of Emergency Provisions. In this regard, PCHR reiterates a general principle that permits the use of Extraordinary powers in the narrowest terms, without abuse against political opposition or to harm citizens or their properties.

This paper intends to raise awareness among the public, governmental and executive bodies of the powers and restrictions entailed in the state of emergency through answers to the following questions:

  1. What is a state of emergency?

It is an exceptional state declared by the competent authorities in the State when a threat is present on the security of the nation, allowing the state, in the narrowest terms, to enforce measures that may not necessarily fulfill its human rights obligations.

  1. What are the conditions for a state of emergency under ICCPR and PBL?
  2. To be in accordance with the laws regulating the state of emergency (Title Severn of PBL);
  • Does not exceed 30 days, renewable with the approval of 2 thirds of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)[1]

NB: The Palestinian Presidents’ acts in place of the PLC after its dissolution, as per Article 43 of PBL.

  • The decree declaring a state of emergency shall state its purpose, the region to which it applies and its duration[2];
  • The Legislative Council shall have the right to review all or some of the procedures and measures adopted during the state of emergency, at the first session convened after the declaration of the state of emergency or in the extension session, whichever comes earlier, and to conduct the necessary interpellation in this regard.[3]
  • It is not allowed to impose restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms when declaring a state of emergency except to the extent necessary to fulfill the purpose stated in the decree declaring the state of emergency.[4]
  • Any detention must be reviewed by the Attorney General within 15 days of the detention  date, and the detainee have the right to appoint a lawyer.[5]
  1. To be in in the narrowest scope in terms of space, time and exceptional procedures.
  2. Not to take measures that contradict with Palestine’s other international obligations.
  3. ICCPR  States Parties shall be informed of the causes, duration and location of the state of emergency.
  4. Do not involve any discrimination on grounds of race, color, gender, language, religion or social origin.
  5. These measures shall not infringe upon certain rights, notably:
  • Right to life (with the exception of the death sentence case issued after a fair trial by a competent court that meets the proper procedures, emphasizing PCHR’s absolute rejection of this inhuman punishment).
  • Right not to be tortured.
  • Right not to be imprisoned merely for failure to fulfill a contractual obligation (Example: A contractor is imprisoned because they have not constructed or repaired a building, after having an agreement with his owner).
  • Right to enjoy guarantees of non-retroactivity of crimes and penalties, and there is no crime and no punishment except those enshrined in the law. (A person shall only  be punished or criminalized in accordance with a published and enforced law).
  • Right to recognize legal personality (a person is recognized before the official authorities in carrying out any legal behavior such as contracting, litigation, and obtaining official documents).

III. What are the most prominent rights that may be restricted and the scope of this restriction?

  1. The right to proper penal procedures: Powers and Restrictions.
  • Exceptional  powers granted in the state of emergency
  • Detention powers without a judicial warrant;
  • The power to arrest and search without a judicial warrant
  • Restrictions on powers:
  • Detention decisions are reviewed by the Attorney General within 15 days of its occurrence.
  • The arrest or search procedure should be absolutely necessary to achieve the declared goal in the state of emergency.
  • These powers shall not be used  to suppress opposition or freedoms that are not relevant to the state of emergency.
  • The detained person has the right to appoint a lawyer of their choice to attend the procedures.
  • Detainees should be protected from getting infected with the coronavirus.
  1. Right to movement: powers and restrictions.
  • Extraordinary powers granted in the state of emergency
  • Prohibition of movement in Palestine (between governorates) or between it and other countries.
  • Imposing curfews and force people to stay at home as required by preventive measures against the spread of the pandemic.
  • Detention of anyone who violates these procedures, in case of extreme necessity.
  • Powers and Restrictions:
  • The restriction must be by a clear decision or law, that was published to the public.
  • Enable the public to obtain their needs of food, drink, medicine in addition to other living necessities.
  • Non-discrimination in imposing procedures, except for the categories whose movement is essential to meet the needs of the public (for example: health workers, security personnel, workers in bakeries, fuel stations, and foodstuff merchants)
  1. The right to freedom of expression: limitations and powers
  • Extraordinary powers authorized in the state of emergency
  • Impose restrictions on freedom of expression, based on the public health protection standard.
  • Prevent the dissemination of certain information even if it is correct, and its dissemination is permitted in non-emergency, e.g. ban on publishing names of persons infected with COVID-19.
  • Detainment of anyone who violates these procedures, in the case of extreme necessity.
  • Limitations on Powers:
  • Restrictions shall be by a clear decree or law, published to the public.
  • No distinction should be made in applying these restrictions on any grounds.
  • Restrictions should not apply to well-intended criticism and opinions on governmental measures, e.g. well-intended criticism means that the person does not belong to anti-state actors and does not aim to provoke riots.
  1. The right to peaceful assembly: limitations and powers
  • Extraordinary powers authorized in the state of emergency
  • Prohibition of all peaceful assemblies, whether in public or private places, open or closed, as necessary to combat the spread of the pandemic.
  • Prohibition of calls for peaceful assemblies, whatever their purpose.
  • Breaking up peaceful assemblies, even with proportionate force, and detaining the violators.
  • Limitations on Powers:
  • Any decision to restrict shall be by a clear decree or law, published to the public.
  • No distinction should be made in applying these restrictions on any grounds.
  1. Right to property
  • Private property shall be protected and may not be expropriated except in the public interest and for fair compensation in accordance with the law or pursuant to a judicial ruling.[6]
  • There are no provisions in international or domestic law regarding the permissibility of the temporary use of private property. Accordingly, and as per Article 21 od PBL,  general rules, and international standards that protect the right to property and its importance for the national economy, the measures to control any private property for the purposes of preventive quarantine require the following:
  • The facility should not be used for housing.
  • The use of the facility should be in agreement with its owner as far as possible.
  • The use of the facility should be in exchange for fair compensation.
  • The use of the facility should not be intended to harm the owner.
  • The government shall be responsible for compensating the owner for any damage inflicted in the facility.
  • The facility should be completely sterilized before it is returned to the owner.

(Source / 31.03.2020) 

Two New Corona Cases Confirmed, One In Ramallah And Another In Gaza; Total 117

Photos File

Two new cases of coronavirus were confirmed overnight in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, bringing total to 117, said the Palestinian government’s spokesman Ibrahim Milhem.

One case was reported in Ramallah for a man in his 20s who apparently got infected while working in Israel and was taken to the quarantine center in the city.

The second is for a man in his 50s who returned to the Gaza Strip last week through Rafah crossing with Egypt and was placed in confinement since then. He is the 10th case in the Gaza Strip while the rest are in the West Bank. A total of 18 have recovered and one death.

(Source / 31.03.2020) 

$120 million needed to face coronavirus crisis as Palestinians warn of its economic impact

Palestinian artists paint a mural to promote protection measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 28, 2020 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian artists paint a mural to promote protection measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 28, 2020

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said that $120 million will be needed to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories.

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah yesterday the former Chairman of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction provided an update on the spread of the pandemic and his government’s effort to deal with the crisis.

The number of cases in the Palestinian territories on Sunday rose to 108 after two new cases were recorded in the city of Hebron. Among the infected cases were nine in the Gaza Strip.

Sketching details of the foreign assistance in dealing with the pandemic Shtayyeh said that the Palestinian Authority is awaiting the arrival of medical aid from China to fill the shortfall in testing kits and respiratory devices.

Read: A Terrifying Scenario: Coronavirus in ‘Quarantined’ Gaza

He explained that Palestinian health authorities are currently able to conduct 1,000 tests daily.

Ahmed Al-Deek, advisor to the Palestinian foreign minister, provided further details on the foreign assistance in an interview with Reuters: “A Chinese plane will carry medical aid to Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel,” said Al-Deek.

The Palestinian share of the aid, according to Deek, is “100,000 strips of coronavirus testing, in addition to a good number of respirators.”

Al-Deek said that the additional testing kits and respirators will be required within days explaining that “large numbers of Palestinian workers who work in Israel will return to their areas of residence and will need to conduct tests in order to ensure that they do not carry this virus.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs is expected to take over the delivery of medical aid to the Ministry of Health following its arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Read: Arab MK warns of humanitarian disaster in West Bank and Gaza

Describing the economic and humanitarian impact Shtayyeh said that his government is working to “support the poor and help them overcome this difficult period.”

He noted that 106,000 families are receiving aid from the government, including more than 70,000 families in the Gaza Strip. The besieged Strip is expected to see the collapse of its health system.

The PA’s revenues are expected to see a dramatic fall in this time of crisis, by more than 50 per cent.

“International aid will decline because the whole world is in crisis, so we will work with an austerity emergency budget by cutting costs as much as possible,” Shtayyeh said.

Despite the shortfall the Palestinian Prime Minister pledged to pay the salaries of public sector employees for this month, in full. He warned that the “the budget deficit will double and the losses to the national economy will be great.”

The PA is working with the World Bank to study the impact and means to revive the economy.

(Source / 30.03.2020) 

UNRWA: ‘The worst scenario is the spread of coronavirus in besieged Gaza’

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 29, 2020 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 29, 2020 

The Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Matthias Schmale, said on Sunday that the worst scenario is the spread of coronavirus in a fully besieged Gaza.

“We are very worried about the outbreak of the coronavirus because managing the crisis then would be very difficult,” Schmale told Sky News Arabic. He stressed the importance and necessity of lifting the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza since 2007. “We need equipment such as respirators, personal protection kit and more staff.”

The UNRWA official condemned as “illogical” the thinking that Gaza is somehow separate to the rest of the world. Everyone, he pointed out, has to take measures to lift the siege.

“For many of the people here, Gaza has not been liveable for a long time,” explained Schmale. “People do not have jobs, medicines or anything. They depend on UNRWA’s food packages.”

He concluded by pointing out that Gaza only has 60 hospital beds equipped with respirators; the estimated population in 2018 was just under 2 million. “I was told that 20 per cent of patients with coronavirus need hospital care and 5 per cent need to be in an ICU. Even if only 1,000 people in Gaza contracted coronavirus, we would still have a real problem.”

Read: $120 million needed to face coronavirus crisis as Palestinians warn of its economic impact

(Source / 30.03.2020) 

Measures to fight COVID-19 in Gaza paralyse the economy

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 29, 2020 [Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency]

A group of volunteer youth carry out disinfection works at a refugee camp as part of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic precautions, in Khan Yunis, Gaza on March 29, 2020

The pre-emptive measures taken to fight the possible outbreak of coronavirus in Gaza have paralysed the economic situation in the occupied Gaza Strip.

While the coastal enclave has endured a strict Israeli siege since mid-2007, about 80 per cent of the residents already live under the poverty line and the besieged government is barely able to provide them with essential food.

This has pushed many people to ignore the restrictions on movement as they were obliged to leave their homes in order to find any kind of work so they could afford something for their children to eat.

Speaking to local newspaper Al-Ayyam, Salam Habib, 40, said that he had been unable to afford the essentials for his family for two weeks. The father of eight children said that this pushed him to go out and find any kind of work, adding:

At the beginning, I respected the instructions and did not leave my home, but when everything [I had ran out] I was obliged to go out.

Read: Arab MK warns of humanitarian disaster in West Bank and Gaza

Ibrahim Abu Kolkhal, who worked for a construction firm, said his money ran out two days after staying at home. “I was obliged to go to the vegetable market and find any kind of work,” he said.

Hani Abu Halima, 35, said that he was not able to stay home because the government is unable to provide the necessary food and drink for his family.

All of the three men blamed the Israeli siege which paralysed Gaza’s economy so that the government in the besieged enclave is unable to provide basic essentials for them.

The government in Gaza said that it is doing its best to keep the healthcare system standing and offering basic services, including for the people in quarantine and those who contracted coronavirus.

At the same time, it said that it has started distributing food packages for the families of thousands of people in quarantine.

Opinion: Gaza faces coronavirus alone after a 14-year lockdown

(Source / 30.03.2020) 

PCHR Calls upon International Community to Assist Healthcare System in Gaza Strip to Fight Coronavirus

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is closely monitoring the health conditions in the Gaza Strip, and the healthcare system’s preparedness to combat the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and its possible outbreak. PCHR confirms that the healthcare system will not be able to deal with patients infected with the coronavirus if the number reaches a few dozen due to its compromised capacities necessary to treat these patients, especially since their treatment requires medical and laboratory equipment and special supplies and medications that are not available in hospitals and health centers in the Gaza Strip. This is in addition to the already fragile healthcare system in Gaza due to the Israeli closure policy and Palestinian internal division.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gaza Strip preparedness and capacity to face the Coronavirus at the present time is only sufficient for cases up to 100 or 150; however, if the cases increase, the fragile healthcare system would be incapable of responding to large numbers of patients. The situation requires the intervention of UN bodies, international and local organizations to exert all efforts and provide the necessary equipment, devices, supplies, medicine and medical crews.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Gaza announced in its daily report on 28 March 2020, that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip is 9 while dozens of samples are so far under laboratory testing and their results will be published as soon as they are ready. According to the report, MOH follows up the health status of 1,719 of the people who had returned from abroad at quarantine centers across the Gaza Strip, including 983 patients who require direct healthcare in hotels, health centers and hospitals. MOH added that the quarantine will be extended from two weeks to three according to the recommendations of experts due to international reports showing the emergence of the disease after the 2-week quarantine period ends. MOH confirmed that it suffers from critical shortage of drugs, medical consumables, laboratory and blood banks supplies, and limited coronavirus testing materials, putting MOH before complicated and unpredictable challenges.

MOH officials in Gaza said to PCHR’s fieldworker that there is acute shortage in MOH’s needs to combat the coronavirus. Hani al-Weheidi, Director of Information System Unit at the Ministry said that the healthcare sector in Gaza has only 110 intensive care beds for adults, including 78 at the MOH hospitals (Shifa 36, European Gaza 17, al-Aqsa 10, Indonesian 9, Naser 6) while the NGOs has 12 beds (al-Quds 7, Public Services 5, and Military Medical Services 7 at Kamal Owdan Hospital). Moreover, the Private Sector has 13 beds: al-Hayah hospital (8) and al-Helo Hospital (5). According to the hospitals’ report, 72% of the intensive care beds are occupied at the MOH hospitals, i.e. if the coronavirus breaks out, only 22 out of 78 intensive care beds will be available in the MOH hospitals.

Ninety-three ventilators are available at intensive care units beds in the Gaza Strip, including 63 at MOH hospitals (al-Shifa 23; European 15; al-Aqsa 9; Indonesian 10; and Nasser 6) 9 at private hospitals (al-Quds 5; Public Aid 4). Additionally, blood gas analyzers are only available at 7 hospitals: al-Shifa, Nasser, al-Quds, Kamal Odwan, Public Aid, al-Helou and al-Hayat; and it is unavailable at 3 hospitals: Indonesian, European and al-Aqsa.

Accordingly, MOH – Gaza needs to urgently equip additional ICUs, ventilators, and testing kits; as well as, protective gear to protect personnel, medications and medical disposables to combat coronavirus. MOH – Gaza has announced its immediate need for:

  • 28 types of medical disposables (emergency list A).[1]
  • 9 types of medications specific for treating coronavirus (emergency list A)[2]
  • 6 types of COVID-19 testing kits, and laboratory equipment (Immediate need list A)[3]
  • Real Time PCR Systems Spectral Calibration Kit (Immediate need list B)[4]
  • 6 laboratory testing devices to enhance laboratory capacity (Immediate need list C)[5]

In light of the extreme danger threatening the Gaza Strip’s health sector due to its limited capacities, especially in terms of diagnostic laboratory equipment, medications and medical disposables, PCHR:

  • Reiterates that the primary responsibility for providing the Gaza Strip with medical supplies lies with Israel, and it should take all necessary and available preventive measures to combat the spread of infectious diseases and this pandemic, according to Articles 55 and 56 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949.
  • Calls upon the international community and the World Health Organization to pressure Israel to force it to abide by its duties and to allow the entry of the Gaza Strip’s medical needs, especially medical equipment and devices necessary for COVID-19 medical examination.
  • Calls upon the international community and humanitarian organizations to provide aid and assistance to the Gaza Strip’s health sector and to endeavor to supply the needed medical equipment to Gaza hospitals to combat the spread of coronavirus.

(Source / 30.03.2020)