Fear for COVID-19 Outbreak Spreads in Syrian Refugee Camps

A number of steps have been taken by Syrian authorities to stop the spread of the outbreak. At the end of March, it was discovered that a Syrian citizen in Damascus was infected with Covid-19, and social restrictions were imposed. However, Syrian refugees in camps face fear of COVID-19 amid dire living conditions.

Syrian refugees in refugee camps live in limitations. Millions of people living in crowded areas are at high risk of contracting Covid-19 if one of them is infected. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, IDLIB, DAMASKUS, LEBANON - "Protection? Come on, we lack water. How can we wash our hands that often? " one of the Syrian refugees in an IDP Camp in the Idlib Region told Al Jazeera. The astonishment of Syrian refugees in crowded camps is a concern for many in the midst of the current Corona pandemic.

Idlib's Health Director Munzer Khalil said, his side only had one hundred ICU rooms and limited ventilators for adults. "When we speak about response [to] Corona, we have to mention about the number of adult ventilators. Those ventilators now serve 3.2 million persons. I can say that we don’t have one empty ventilator ready to receive Corona patients," Munzer said to Al Jazeera.

Idlib only has three COVID-19 test kits. Each of the kit given by the World Health Organization (WHO) can only do 100 tests. "It won’t be enough for millions but at least we can confirm if we have a case," explained Muhammad Shaham Makki from the Idlib epidemiological surveillance laboratory.

The similar situation was also faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Muhammad Al Bakhas told TRT World that the refugees had awareness sessions and soaps, it is not enough. "They gave us awareness sessions and a bar of soap each, but this is not enough. We go to the pharmacy, (to buy masks), face masks cost 4,000 LL (USD 2.60) and 7,000 LL (USD 4.60). We can’t afford to buy anything. We ask for disinfectants. We ask for sanitizers for the camp. We are a big group of people. We ask the United Nations and call on the world to help us," Al Bakhas said.

The White took a number of steps to protect the refugees. They disinfect tents, distribute masks, and urge refugees to wash their hands more often. They also conduct health checks and measure body temperature at the border. []