News Alert: First COVID Community Spread in Gaza Stokes Fears
As COVID-19 tests reveal that the virus has spread pervasively in Gaza, Sasha Muench, Mercy Corps Country Director for Palestine says:
“For a while, we had hoped Gaza could hold off COVID. But the bubble has truly burst now, as multiple individuals have tested positive with no apparent connection to each other.
“There have been positive cases before, but only within the quarantine centers. But within 48 hours of the first positive case in the community being identified, wider testing has shown COVID has clearly been spreading in the territory for some time. Unfortunately this comes at a time of escalated tensions between Gaza and Israel, which has led to reduced access to goods, including all fuel deliveries. As a result, Gazans are only getting electricity for 2-3 hours a day.
“We, along with other aid agencies, are rapidly pivoting to ensure the continued delivery of assistance in light of the new COVID lockdowns, and lack of electricity.“
Last year, Mercy Corps reached more than 177,000 people across Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) with critical services including access to clean water, support for business development and youth education. In 2011, in cooperation with Google.org, Mercy Corps founded Gaza Sky Geeks which is now the leading co-working space, startup accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza.