- Title: In Syria's northwest, medics fear the worst if corona hits crowded camps
- Date: 11th March 2020
- Summary: SHAMARIN, SYRIA (MARCH 11, 2020) (REUTERS) DOCTOR TAKING CHILD'S TEMPERATURE DOCTOR TAKING TODDLERS' TEMPERATURES YOUNG MAN HELPING OLD WOMAN INTO BUILDING FEMALE MEDIC EXAMINING CHILD DOCTOR ORGANISING EQUIPMENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN SEATED VARIOUS OF DOCTOR LOOKING THROUGH MICROSCOPE BLOOD SAMPLES ON COUNTER VARIOUS OF DOCTOR EXAMINING TODDLERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PAEDIATRICIAN, OMAR HAMMOUD, SAYING: "The truth is, if the illness spreads, it will be very hard to contain. You see the way things are here in the camp. People are close to each other, one tent next to the other." DOCTOR WRITING / THERMOMETER ON TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN PAEDIATRICIAN, OMAR HAMMOUD, SAYING: "As a paediatrician, I take my precautions, when dealing with patients. I always to try to ease the patients' fears. They get scared, because if they see or hear anything, they come and ask us, 'Are there cases?' We always tell them that there aren't any, thank God. We ease their worries." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN BY UNHCR TENT PEOPLE AND CATTLE BY TENTS CHILDREN IN CAMP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DISPLACED SYRIAN, FAWZI MASRI, SAYING: "We pray that the illness (coronavirus) does not fall upon us. We are against this illness. We are already suffering, I am telling you the truth. We eat and drink without a kettle, we live in these tents and cook on the ground, where there are cockroaches and mice. I am telling you the truth. Everything (on the ground) eats with the human here. I am telling you the truth. So I hope with God's blessing that we don't get that illness." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN IN CAMP VAN PARKED IN CAMP BY TENTS CAMP IN DISTANCE
- Keywords: Coronavirus Displaced persons Doctors Medical team Refugee camp Security Syria
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4LW7RB
- Location: SHAMARIN, SYRIA
- City: SHAMARIN, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Duration: 00:02:41
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Story Text: In Syria's northwest, where people uprooted by war are crammed into camps, medics fear the coronavirus would spread widely if it reaches a country with its healthcare system in ruins.
Doctors and aid workers say they have recorded no cases so far. But they warned that camps would not cope in the event of an outbreak, with hospitals already struggling to treat even basic illnesses after nine years of war.
Omar Hammoud, a children's doctor in Azaz town, says a clear plan has yet to be drawn up for Syria's northwest, the last big insurgent bastion outside state hands.
Across the world, the number of coronavirus cases has topped 119,000 and nearly 4,300 have died as the outbreak spread to more countries, prompting greater economic damage.
Within the Middle East, Iran has been worst hit with around 9,000 people infected and 354 deaths. Turkey by contrast, which borders northwest Syria and has forces stationed across the frontier, confirmed its first case on Wednesday (March 11).
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday only half of health facilities remained operational in northwest Syria, where fighting has forced about 1 million people to flee since December.
Many live in squalid makeshift camps and sleep outdoors in olive groves in a region where much of the population had already fled battles in other parts of Syria earlier in the war.
(Production: Mahmoud Hassano, Hamuda Hassan, Nadeen Ebrahim)
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