Children in a camp for displaced persons in Idlib Province, northwest Syria
The first case of Coronavirus in opposition-held northwest Syria has been confirmed.
Local medics said the first case is a 39-year-old physician who was tested on Tuesday after spiking a fever and dry cough two days later. Resident in Gazientep, Turkey, he entered Syria on June 25 and visited his wife, also a physician, in al-Bab in western Aleppo Province.
All of the physician’s contacts are being tested advised to isolate.
Activists claimed a second case, of a psychologist in Idlib Province, but staff at Bab al-Hawa Hospital have denied the report.
Medics, aid workers, and residents fear the virus could overrun opposition-held western Aleppo and Idlib Province, with more than 3 million civilians.
More than 1 million people were displaced by Russian-regime attacks between April 2019 and March 2020, and many still live in overcrowded camps with little running water and poor hygiene.
More than half of greater Idlib’s medical facilities were damaged or destroyed in about 70 Russian-regime attacks during the 11-month offensive. There are only 153 ventilators and 200 beds in intensive care.
The first case was detected by the only testing machine in the province, with a lone doctor carrying out 20 tests per day.
The World Health Organization has provided five testing machines to the Assad regime, but none to northwest Syria or the Kurdish-controlled northeast.
The regime has acknowledged 372 cases, with 14 deaths in its territory. Medics, activists, and residents believe the actual toll is far higher.