City Near Damascus Isolates Itself
The Syrian city of Sednaya in the Qalamoun region has isolated itself to protect its residents from the novel coronavirus.
The city council announced on Sunday the self-isolation in addition to a number of other precautionary measures after learning that one of its residents is in self-quarantine for the past 10 days following his return from Lebanon through an illegal crossing.
Syrian authorities in the Damascus countryside have imposed a set of measures and isolated Menin and the Sayeda Zainab area, which is visited by pilgrims from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
This neighborhood is also a hub for Iranian and Iraqi militia members and their families.
The City Council of Sednaya, which lies 30 km northwest of Damascus, has blocked off all ways into the city, except one that leads to a nearby hospital.
Workers have also sterilized public squares, and a quarantine center was established in the Monastery of St. Thomas to accommodate hundreds of suspected coronavirus cases.
A medical checkpoint was also set up on the sole entry point for checkups of all arrivals, and a team was assigned to sterilize the tires of vehicles and all food supplies.
Masks were also distributed to residents for free and manufactured locally in the town, as well as sterilizers.
In order to encourage people to stay home, volunteers brought in vegetables and fruits, selling them at market price, and allocated funds and provided assistance to cleaners to increase their work pace.
Town residents also welcomed donations from family members and expatriates to help people who have lost their livelihoods due to the measures aimed at fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Chairman of Sednaya City Council Abdulla Saadeh said in press statements that the measures were taken “in cooperation with the city’s officials, civil society and charities.”
“Non-profits have been active in distributing aid to the needy, and have joined hands with the council mainly in sterilization and cleaning efforts.”
Local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that all the precautionary measures taken by the town were in line with the request of residents.
They said Sednaya, which is close to the Lebanese border, is also a religious tourism area that welcomes visitors from outside the town, in addition to Iranian and Lebanese fighters and Syrian soldiers who are in direct contact with Iranians, which compelled the town to isolate itself.