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Hamas chief in Gaza contracts coronavirus

December 1, 2020 08:48 PM


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The leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, on Tuesday tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which is spreading rapidly across the Palestinian enclave, the Islamist group said.

"Yahya Sinwar, the head of the political bureau of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, was infected with the coronavirus today," Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told AFP.

"His general health condition is good. He is working as usual but in isolation."

Sinwar is the latest Palestinian leader to contract the virus.

Long-time chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat died from coronavirus-related complications last month.

Hamas official Salah El Arouri has also tested positive for the virus.

Tuesday's announcement came as Gaza battles surging infections.

The small and densely populated enclave of around two million people, under Israeli-blockade since 2007, initially held off a major coronavirus outbreak.

As the much of the world went into lockdown in March and April, Hamas imposed draconian controls, hoping to ensure its already weak health system was not overwhelmed.

Gaza had recorded just 100 cases until mid-August, but the crisis has escalated in recent weeks.

The territory's confirmed caseload now stands at more than 21,400, with 11 deaths.

Daily infection have recently ranged between 700 and 800.

Top health officials in Gaza have warned the situation was spiralling out of control.

"The number of intensive care beds is very limited, as are medicines," Mahmud al-Khazindar, director of a private hospital in Gaza, told AFP last month.

"If the number of cases increases, a choice will have to be made between the care of the elderly, the young and patients with another diseases."

 

 



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