Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

COVID-19 Claims 200 Lives a Day in Damascus

COVID-19 Claims 200 Lives a Day in Damascus

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 - 06:00
A medic checks the temperature of a Syrian man before entering the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus to attend Friday prayer on May 15. (Getty Images)

The novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the Syrian capital, Damascus, claiming 200 lives a day, revealed medical sources.

They told Asharq Al-Awsat that hundreds of infected people are showing up at hospitals every day. The fatalities have gone up so much that there is now a shortage in hearses.

Other sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the virus is spreading rapidly in public and private institutions.

Social media users had spoken of a spike in infections back in July. Officially, however, the health ministry says that infections are rising at a rate of 19 to 29 cases daily. It spoke of five to eight recoveries and one to three deaths per day. According to official figures, infections across the country have reached 809, recoveries 256 and fatalities 44.

The medical sources, however, painted a bleak picture. They revealed that the situation at hospitals is “very bad”, so much that patients are being turned away because the facilities lack the means to treat them given the deteriorating situation the country due to western sanctions against the regime.

They revealed that some patients are being admitted after they pull some strings and “make phone calls”.

Despite the clear fear among the people over the outbreak, they appear to be ignoring preventive measures as they are more preoccupied with their growing poverty.

A tour of Damascus’ markets reveals that preventive measures have been limited to social distancing. Very few people wear masks, while many others appear indifferent to the outbreak.

A man in his 50s explained to Asharq Al-Awsat: “The people are exhausted (financially). They must choose between securing preventive means or their daily bread. It is impossible to secure both.”

He said people would rather avoid going hungry, as for coronavirus prevention, they have put their faith in God.

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