Gaza to run out of coronavirus equipment in weeks - PA Health Ministry

"Drug supplies...required for the services provided to COVID-19 patients will only last for a month at the latest."

 Palestinians, wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease, work in a bakery in Gaza City (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Palestinians, wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease, work in a bakery in Gaza City
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
The Gaza Strip is expected to run out of medical equipment used to treat coronavirus patients in less than a month, the Palestinian Health Ministry warned Thursday, according to Anadolu Agency.

According to the media outlet, the ministry's Spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said the strip is facing a "difficult and dangerous" drug shortage that affects Gaza's efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak, calling to lift the "illegal and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip."

According to Qidra, Israel is responsible for the "dangerous consequences of the lack of medical supplies" in Gaza.

The strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza in an armed revolt, killing members of Fatah, the ruling faction of the Palestinian Authority.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that at least 118 people were killed during the fighting that occurred in Gaza between June 10 and June 15, 2007.

At a June conference, Fatah Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub said Fatah and Hamas will work together to achieve an independent Palestinian state, saying the factions will "lead our battle together under the flag of Palestine to achieve an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and solving the issue of the refugees on the basis of international resolutions."

In May, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the authority was no longer bound by agreements it signed with Israel and the US, including the Oslo Accords, subsequently terminating the security coordination with the IDF.

On Thursday, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah told Lebanese pro-Hezbollah outlet Al Mayadeen the Gaza-based factions have military presence in the West Bank, adding that "important changes" will take place in the territories.

"Soon we will develop new equations that may reach joint military action," said Nakhalah, stressing that there is "no binding truce" for the terrorist groups in Gaza and that they are in a "continuous war and conflict at the borders of the Strip."

Early Saturday morning, Hamas said the number of coronavirus patients in the strip surpassed 2,000 people, standing at some 2,223 confirmed cases. Videos posted on social media showed Hamas militants violently enforcing the lockdown, beating locals with batons.

Gaza Health Ministry official Munir al-Bursh said drug stocks reached a 47% shortage, with heart medication and drugs prescribed to cancer patients reached a shortage of 63%, according to Anadolu.

"Drug supplies...required for the services provided to COVID-19 patients will only last for a month at the latest," Bursh reportedly said.

According to Laboratories Department Director Amid Moshtahi, "the deficit in [medical equipment] reached 65%, which is a dangerous indicator in view of the developments in the health situation in Gaza."

The Health Ministry's central laboratory "suffers from an acute and dangerous shortage of laboratory swabs and clots for coronavirus tests and the remaining stocks will only be enough for a few days."

Tzvi Joffre and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.