Coronavirus: Syria cases likely ‘far exceed official figures’ says UN


A senior UN humanitarian official says reports of Syrian health care facilities filling up and increasing death notices and burials appear to indicate that actual coronavirus cases “far exceed official figures” of 2,440 cases confirmed by the government’s Ministry of Health.

Assistant Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs Ramesh Rajasingham told the UN Security Council on Thursday that “rising patient numbers are adding pressure to the fragile health system.”

He says many people “are reluctant to seek care at medical facilities, leading to more severe complications when they do arrive,” and “health workers still lack sufficient personal protective equipment and associated supplies.”

Of the more than 2,400 cases confirmed by the Ministry of Health, Rajasingham says, “the majority cannot be traced to a known source.”

Workers make face masks in order to provide help to healthcare workers and hospitals to face the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at an atelier in Damascus, Syria April 16, 2020. (Reuters)

He says several health facilities suspended operations this month because of capacity issues and staff becoming infected. That included Al Hol camp in northeast Syria, where 65,000 mainly women and children connected to ISIS fighters are detained.

He says both field hospitals at the camp have since resumed operations.


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