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Gaza in Coronavirus Era

Gaza Strip residents have been suffering from the Israeli siege for 14 years, a siege that restricts movement in and out and bans goods’ entry in addition to laying hands over vital sectors such as electricity and water.

The situation became worse after the state of emergency was declared over to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many residents lost their income sources, while dozens of factories and restaurants are struggling to survive. There are no signs of normal life in streets and all markets are shut down, not to mention that the health sector is on the verge of collapse, according to official reports.

Hosni al-Khatib, a seller in the popular market, used to work all day in return for a small amount of money to meet the needs of his seven-member family, however, quarantin has made the situation harder.

As for Gaza Strip employees, they have already been suffering a financial crisis for years. State employees get 75 percent of their salaries while Hamas pays its employees 40 percent of their salaries only.

Tourist Establishments Shut down

The tourist and hotel industry is a key sector that was undermined in Gaza, knowing that it was already undergoing a crisis amid the Israeli siege and the degradation of living conditions. Around 200 tourist establishments and restaurants in the strip are fully closed.

Salah Abu Hasira, the head of the Palestinian Authority for Restaurants and Tourist Services, reported that the tourism sector dismissed around 6,000 workers who relied on daily incomes. The estimated loss of hotels and restaurants exceeded $5 million so far and is expected to increase, he added.

Deteriorating Health Sector

The health sector in Gaza has been suffering from a sharp collapse, lacking around 45 percent of its basic equipment, especially those necessary to deal with the novel coronavirus. The sector has 63 artificial respiration devices and almost 100 beds for intensive care.

Relevant international bodies attempted to provide medical assistance but the Israeli procedures hindered it.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, for its part, warned of a catastrophe in case COVID-19 cases increased and went out of control in Gaza. To reduce deaths, the international community called for quick measures.

Source: ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
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