COGAT to provide advanced medical device to aid Gaza coronvirus testing

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories (COGAT) has announced Sunday that it intends to transfer an advanced medical device, known as PCR machine or thermal cycler.

A policeman, wearing a mask as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stands guard as Palestinians wait outside a bank to withdraw cash, in Gaza City March 29, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
A policeman, wearing a mask as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), stands guard as Palestinians wait outside a bank to withdraw cash, in Gaza City March 29, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories (COGAT) announced on Sunday that it intends to transfer an advanced medical device, known as a PCR machine or thermal cycler, to detect cases of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip, according to a press release from the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. The PCR machines will be sent to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via the Erez Crossing. 
The decision to transfer the rapid diagnostics device was done in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lack of healthcare infrastructure to manage an increase in testing in Gaza. The new device will allow Gazan health authorities to double the number of tests carried out per day. 
Since no direct relations exists between COGAT, a section of the IDF, and Hamas authorities in Gaza, the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with other international organizations agreed to donate tens of thousands of dollars to purchase the device and coordinate its transfer to the Shafaa Hospital in Gaza. In addition to the device, WHO also donated 500 test kits and reagents, to be used in coronavirus testing. 
The initiative is part of a number of actions coordinated by COGAT to combat the spread of coronavirus, including providing virus detection kits, protective kits for medical teams, drugs and antiseptics via donation by the international community.  
COGAT’s Civil Department head Col. Sharon Biton said that his “unit perceived a serious need and worked arm-in-arm with the international community from the stage of finding a donor on through purchasing the machine and overcoming all the challenges along the way to transferring it into the Gaza Strip.”
“It was all done with an eye on the overall situation, with a sense of mission, and with an understanding of the danger threatened by a coronavirus outbreak in the Gaza Strip. I believe — in fact, I know — that by maintaining close relations with the international community, we can and will weather the crisis more successfully,” Biton said.
"The Director of Coordination and Liaison to the Gaza Strip sees the utmost importance in leading cooperation and coordination with the international community in the joint mission to curb the spread of the dangerous coronavirus in the Gaza Strip - with the understanding that together we will succeed," said Col. Iyad Sarhan, Head of Coordination and Liaison to the Gaza Strip. 
"The success of us all is a real victory in the shadow of the crisis and this challenging time. We will continue to lead such coordination in collaboration with members of the international community at all times, and do as much as we can for the robust health of Gaza residents," Sarhan concluded.
According to the World Health Organization there are 255 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the West Bank and 13 in Gaza.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.


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