A potential catastrophe is looming over the people of the Gaza Strip, where 2 million people are being kept locked up and blockaded from the outside world by Israel on 3 sides and by Egypt on its southern border. As of March 25, at least 2 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and the military siege on all sides will make matters immensely worse for the beleaguered population as they suffer from lack of health services, medical equipment, medicine, and the virtual inability to practice social distancing. Despite all this, Israel has not shown any signs of easing the blockade against the Palestinians in Gaza, and in fact as of last month it appears to be tightening the restrictions.
By Raed Shakshak, We Are Not Numbers, Gaza, 23 March 2020.
It was almost 1 a.m. when I read the news that Gaza had identified its first two coronavirus cases. My heart beat rapidly and fear flushed like ice water through my body. I continued to read but my eyes teared up and everything looked blurred, like a gauzy curtain had suddenly dropped down. I attempted to blink the tears out of my eyes and continue reading.
Those two people had returned to Gaza from Pakistan. And although all travelers have immediately been quarantined, no one here trusts that this has kept the infection contained. The virus is official in Gaza, where our hospitals are already short on vital medicine and equipment, people are crowded in like sardines (we have been banned from traveling for 14 years!)…
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