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Damascus: Partial Curfew Kicks Off, Three Syrians Coming from Tehran Test Positive

Damascus: Partial Curfew Kicks Off, Three Syrians Coming from Tehran Test Positive

Thursday, 26 March, 2020 - 07:30
Closed shops in Syria. via AAWSAT AR
Damascus, London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Damascus announced partial curfew to stem the spread of the new coronavirus as the country registered three new cases of Syrians coming from Iran.

The Syrian Ministry of Health said on its official website: "Three new cases tested positive for the virus. All of them belong to the same group that was placed under quarantine in Damascus last week."

More than a hundred people were placed under quarantine in Hajar area after returning from Tehran.

The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross called for an immediate nationwide ceasefire across Syria to enable an "all-out-effort" to stamp out the coronavirus.

They stressed that prisoners and millions of displaced people, especially those in Idlib are vulnerable after nine years of war.

Syrians are "acutely vulnerable to COVID-19," Geir Pedersen, the UN special envoy for Syria warned in a statement. He also appealed on humanitarian grounds for "large-scale releases of detainees and abductees."

"Healthcare facilities have been destroyed or are degraded. There is a shortage of key medical equipment and health professionals," Pedersen added.

For his part, Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Near and Middle East, echoed the call for a ceasefire.

Carboni stressed that while Syrian health officials say the number of cases is quite limited, quick action is needed to halt a spread, including the provision of clean water.

"Even if there are five or 10 cases, our work would still be to focus on making sure that water reaches people because without water you can't wash your hands," he said.

In al-Hasakah, the largest city in the northeast, a pumping station providing water to 800,000 people has been out of operation for three days and needs repair, he warned.

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