1st Case of COVID-19 Infection Reported among Palestinian Refugee Community in Lebanon

1st Case of COVID-19 Infection Reported among Palestinian Refugee Community in Lebanon

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced on Wednesday the first Palestinian case of covid-19 in Lebanon.

Spokesperson of UNRWA in Lebanon Huda Samra made clear that the confirmed case of covid-19 is of a Palestinian youth who lives outside Palestinian refugee camps in the Lebanese town of Barja.

Samra said the patient was ordered to stay in home quarantine and the tests of other seven cases are negative.

UNRWA said that it has not yet received financial support to provide medical precautions in order to cope with coronavirus in Palestinian refugee camps. 

Last week, UNRWA launched a flash appeal  to provide a sum of  US$ 14 million to cover the Agency’s immediate needs to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak over an initial three-month period.

The Flash Appeal outlines the immediate priorities and financial requirements for health and other services related to the pandemic in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

“Overcrowded living conditions, physical and mental stress and years of protracted conflict all make vulnerable population of over 5.6 million Palestine refugees particularly susceptible to the ongoing threats of COVID-19,” said UNRWA Acting Commissioner-General Christian Saunders. “All of the Agency’s five fields’ host countries and authorities have announced a series of robust measures to cope with the spread of COVID-19, which UNRWA will follow and factor into its operations.”

“I humbly call on donors, whether governments, foundations or individuals to help UNRWA face what could become a disaster of unconscionable proportions, in places like Gaza and Syria,” said Saunders. “COVID-19 has illustrated that no population is exempt and for a densely populated area like Gaza, already weakened by years of blockade, this could be disastrous. Gaza simply does not have the resources and means to weather such a story.”

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