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Northwest Syria facing ‘humanitarian disaster,’ with test positivity rate around 55%, aid agencies say

Oct 07, 2021

Rebel-held northwest Syria is facing an unprecedented coronavirus surge and aid agencies are calling on the world to help provide humanitarian and medical aid, increase hospital capacity and ensure people are vaccinated.

The surge, apparently caused by the more contagious delta variant, has overwhelmed hospitals with sick patients and is causing shortages of oxygen, according to local officials. The local rebel-run authority imposed a nighttime curfew as of Tuesday while schools and universities were closed and students are getting distant learning.

The region is home to four million people, many of them internally displaced by Syria’s 10-year conflict.

Dr. Khaula Sawah, president of the International Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, or UOSSM, says international aid is urgently needed “to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Millions of lives are at stake.”

The rate of positive test results — an indication of the level of virus spread — is around 55 per cent, according to UOSSM and Christian humanitarian organization World Vision. Only 1.3 per cent of people are vaccinated, according to World Vision.

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