Residents of Damascus, Syria, April 1, 2020 (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty)

Hospitals in Syria’s capital Damascus have run out of intensive care beds, amid a surge in Coronavirus infections.

A Health Ministry official told State news agency SANA that patients are being transferred to other provinces.

The statement is a rare admission by the Assad regime of the extent of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry’s official total is 17,077 cases and 1,141 deaths. Medics, activists, and residents have said from the start of the outbreak in February 2020 that the regime is minimizing the fatalities and infections.

Hospital staff spoke last summer of being overwhelmed by cases, with a high infection rate and mortality rate among frontline doctors and nurses.

See also Coronavirus is Worsening in Syria — and Assad Regime is Hiding It

The regime reportedly began distribution of the first Coronavirus vaccines in its areas of Syria last week, with initial vaccinations given to front-line health workers in several main hospitals across the country.

The 5,000 doses are probably Sputnik V vaccine provided by Israel, as part of a prisoner exchange for an Israeli woman who ventured into Syria.