In a statement to a state news agency, the Syrian regime's health ministry reported a second coronavirus death and a rise in the country's number of cases.
Syria’s health ministry announced that a second person has died of the novel coronavirus, state news agency SANA reported on Monday, as the country’s confirmed number of cases rose to ten.
The announcement comes on the same day that regime forces placed an entire eastern Syrian village in quarantine, after an elderly couple were found to have Covid-19.
“A second death case of the coronavirus was registered today, it is one of the ten cases detected in Syria,” the ministry said in a statement to SANA.
Syria’s first Covid-19 death was announced on Sunday, when a woman who contracted the virus died after being hospitalised, according to state news.
Syria’s coronavirus outbreak, particularly the threat of a spread to the country’s northwest, has been a dire cause for concern among rights groups.
Northwest Syria, an opposition bastion ravaged by regime forces’ aggressive military campaign, is home to some 1 million recently displaced Syrians, along with around 2 to 3 million more, often living in makeshift camps and running low on medical supplies.
On Monday, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock warned of the virus’ “potential to have a devastating impact on vulnerable communities across the country”.
“Syria’s health services are extremely fragile,” said Lowcock. “Only around half of its hospitals and primary healthcare centres were fully functional at the end of last year.”
Lowcock added the Syrian regime’s strict measures to prevent the virus’ spread has hindered humanitarian aid from reaching vulnerable populations within the country.
“The pandemic is already further restricting our ability to access affected communities,” he said. “Airport and border closures – including in the northeast – along with other movement restrictions add to the long-standing difficulties humanitarian staff face in travelling to where they are needed.”