Three new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday in the overcrowded Al-Hol camp, whose residents suffer from deplorable humanitarian and health conditions, raising the total number of infections in the camp since April to six.
The international organization Save the Children said that up to 46 infections were registered across three camps in North East Syria, warning that the situation in the camps is critical.
In a press statement, Save the Children’s Syria Response Director Sonia Khush said: “These new figures are incredibly concerning. If this upsurge continues, it will only be a matter of time before hospitals and isolation facilities - which already have very limited capacity - are overwhelmed.”
She also expressed her fear over the impact of the case surge on children.
“We are particularly concerned about the impact this latest increase will have on children. Because of the curfew, they are less likely to be able to access medical services and facilities, affecting their health, education and mental wellbeing.”
Also, the administration of the Al-Hol camp and the Kurdish Red Crescent warned of a calamity in the event of an outbreak among its almost 62,000 residents.
Only 28 new cases have been recorded since the beginning of April in Al-Roj, while the number of cases increased to 15 in the Areesheh camp.
Save the Children also expressed fears that the actual number of cases is higher than the official figure because of the limited number of testing centers in the camps. The organization also called on international and Western countries to fulfill their responsibilities and repatriate the families detained in camps amid the harsh conditions caused by the pandemic.
For its part, the Autonomous Administration of North and Eastern Syria affirmed that Al-Hol is facing a calamitous situation because of limited public awareness and a shortage of preventative equipment. It warned of a “catastrophic explosion” and said that “there are fears that those visiting health centers at the camps have contracted the virus, but no positive cases have been recorded besides the three cases that were announced recently.”
In this context, the Autonomous Administration announced a strict 10-day emergency lockdown, with people only allowed out of their homes for essential items.