Photo: Reuters

The Assad regime has acknowledged the first death from Coronavirus in Syria.

The Health Ministry said on Sunday that the victim was a woman rushed to a hospital emergency department.

The Ministry said the number of confirmed cases had risen to nine.

For weeks medical staff, activists, and residents have suspected that the regime is covering up the scale of the outbreak. Damascenes have declared regime statements to be “bullshit”, minimising the threat amid the deprivation and damage of a nine-year conflict. One summarized:

This economic standstill we are living in, which is worse than anything we’ve had before, forces us to choose between isolation to protect ourselves from Corona and going out in search of our daily sustenance.

See also Syria Daily, March 27: Coronavirus Adds to Residents’ Economic Woes in Damascus

Iraqi health officials confirmed on Sunday that pilgrims, returning from the Shia Sayyeda Zeinab shrine in Damascus, have tested positive for Coronavirus.

The regime has now imposed a 6 pm-6am curfew and banned movement between provinces. Schools, universities, and institutes are closed; bakeries are shut; and public transport banned. On Sunday, the military suspended the call-up of army reserves.

Damascus airport has halted commercial flights, but observers says the movement of Iranian personnel and equipment continues via Mahan Air from Tehran to the Syrian capital.

Iranian troops and Iranian-led foreign militia are suspected of bringing the virus into Syria from the Islamic Republic, an epicenter of the initial outbreak.

No cases have been confirmed yet in opposition-held northwest Syria, but medics and aid agencies are warning of a devastating outbreak. More than half of medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed by Russian-regime attacks, which have displaced more than 1 million people into overcrowded camps with poor sanitation and little or no water.

See also Syria Daily, March 21: Coronavirus — “Wash Our Hands? We Can’t Wash Our Kids For A Week”