The UN humanitarian chief warned tthat reports from inside Syria point to “a much broader spread” of COVID-19 cases than the 3,628 confirmed cases conveys.
Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the extent of the outbreak won’t be known until laboratory testing is increased across the country.
“We do know that community transmission is widespread, as almost 90% of newly confirmed cases cannot be traced to a known source,” he said.
“Infection rates among health workers have also been rising.”
Lowcock said even before the pandemic, Syria had a shortage of health workers, and supply shortages and temporary shutdowns have added “even more pressure to the decimated health system.”
He noted that on Aug. 27 the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among residents at two camps for the displaced in the northeast, al-Hol and Areesha.
Five health care workers at a field hospital in al-Hol had tested positive in the previous weeks, Lowcock said, The Associated Press reported.