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Protests in Damascus Quarantine Center over Mistreatment

Protests in Damascus Quarantine Center over Mistreatment

Friday, 22 May, 2020 - 10:30
Syrians buy goods on a recently-opened popular souk in Damascus, Syria, 16 May 2020, where people are buying basic needs, including clothes and food almost a week before Eid al-Fitr. EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

Syria’s ministries of interior and health launched on Wednesday an inquiry into protests by some people staying in quarantine centers in the University City in Damascus.

People arriving in Damascus from abroad have been directly taken for a14-day quarantine at specified centers.

But they have refused to have the meals served and threw them from the University City center’s window, in protest at what they called mistreatment, lack of hygiene and the delay in testing them for the new coronavirus (COVID-19), informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

As soon as the videos and photos were circulated on social media, a team from both ministries launched the probe to refer them to the judiciary, local media sources reported.

Similar incidents have occurred earlier after videos and photos were leaked from a number of quarantine centers showing poor hygiene and services in a number of health centers assigned by the government in Damascus.

In early May, the government allowed Syrians stranded in countries like Russia, UAE, Sudan, Oman, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and others, to return and abide by the precautionary measures to fight the pandemic.

The “Quarantine Diaries in Damascus” social media page, which publishes news on the coronavirus in the city has cited sources as affirming that relevant authorities from the ministries of health and interior were instructed to launch a probe into the practices of some of those quarantined in the University City.

Many of the quarantined refused to adhere to the 14-day confinement and offended medical personnel.

Despite the acute shortage of medical equipment caused by western sanctions, the health ministry has conducted 1,500 tests, giving priority to the elderly and those with health conditions and having COVID-19 symptoms, it stated.

However, independent medical sources said people with ties to the regime have been prioritized for testing, causing chaos and protests.

According to the ministry, there are 58 coronavirus cases in Syria, including three deaths and 36 recoveries.

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