The Idlib Health Directorate has announced that four patients living in displacement camps in Idlib have shown symptoms typical of the coronavirus.
Four people living in Atimah camp in Idlib have been placed in quarantine after displaying symptoms in line with those typical of the coronavirus. According to the health official Dr Munther Al-Khlalil the patients had symptoms such as a high fever, dry cough, and respiratory issues. Samples have been taken from the patients and they are awaiting the results which will confirm whether or not coronavirus has reached Idlib displacement camps.
Syria confirmed its first case of coronavirus on Sunday, a 20-year-old woman. Health Minister Nizar al-Yaziji told state media “necessary measures” had been taken and the woman had been placed under quarantine for 14 days.
Health officials and aid workers have warned of the disastrous consequences an outbreak of coronavirus could be if it reached those living in displacement camps in Idlib, the most vulnerable people to disease. Overcrowded refugee camps, a lack basic sanitation or nutrition and insufficient health facilities mean an outbreak would be near impossible to contain. It would undeniably reach thousands of the men, women and children taking refuge in Idlib camps.
Medical workers in Idlib have warned that they have struggled to access even the most basic equipment in order to care for patients with suspected coronavirus, such as masks and ventilators.
Nearly a decade of conflict in Syria has had catastrophic consequences for the country’s health infrastructure. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 500 medical facilities in Syria have been targeted in military attacks. They estimate almost two-thirds of the facilities targeted are in the northwest region.
It is evident that a lot rides on the results of the tests for the four patients in Atimah camp. Analysis of the samples will take 48 hours, according to Al-Khalil. If they are to come back positive, coronavirus will be yet another in a long list of dangers displaced Syrians in Idlib will have to face.