IDF refutes claims it halted medical supplies to Gaza amid COVID-19 rise

Hamas on Tuesday reported that it diagnosed 685 new cases in a 24-hour period.

 (photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)
(photo credit: REUTERS/SUHAIB SALEM)
The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday refuted Hamas and international claims that it had held up medical supplies to the Gaza Strip as COVID-19 cases in the coastal enclave continue to rise.
“Contrary to various reports, I, the organization I lead, or any other Israeli entity did not deny a request or demand for medical assistance in the Gaza Strip,” the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, said in a video message in Arabic.
According to the United Nations, as of last week, 39% of all reported COVID-19 cases in the Palestinian territories were in Gaza.
Hamas on Tuesday reported that it diagnosed 685 new cases in a 24-hour period. It explained that 16,142 Covid-19 cases had been diagnosed in Gaza since the start of the pandemic and that 72 Palestinians in Gaza had died from the disease.
Rukun said that he “welcomed” international medical assistance to help COGAT facilitate Palestinian efforts to combat the pandemic.
Testing has been increased from 200 to 2,500 people per day, he said, adding that respirators, oxygen generators and inhalers have been allowed into Gaza.
Hundreds of new hospital beds have been set up, and 600 tons of essential medical supplies have entered the Strip, he said.
Those who can, are encouraged to help the health care system treat patients and save lives, Rukun said.
“The corona plague is a global challenge” and all parties must help to find solutions, he added.