Hamas official suspended for allowing TV crew inside quarantine center

The Palestinians called the incident a “scandal” and demanded that those who authorized the filming inside the center be punished.

Palestinian health workers wearing protective masks walk in a quarantine zone installed by the ministry of health to test passengers returning from China for coronavirus, at Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip February 16, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian health workers wearing protective masks walk in a quarantine zone installed by the ministry of health to test passengers returning from China for coronavirus, at Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip February 16, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Salama Marouf, head of the Hamas-controlled Government Press Office, has been suspended for allowing journalists to enter a quarantine center for Palestinians diagnosed with coronavirus.
Marouf, who reportedly authorized the entry of the journalists into the quarantine center in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, was suspended pending an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the issue.
A special commission of inquiry has been set up to look into the issue, the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Al-Resalah, reported. The commission will recommend that those who violated the regulations of the Health Ministry be held accountable, it said.
Marouf confirmed that he has been suspended from his job.
“My moral and understanding of government work oblige me to respect a decision to suspend my work until the investigation ends, even if it seems to me to be surprising and incomprehensible,” he said. “I’m fully prepared to assume responsibility if it’s proven that I had failed in my job.”
The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said a journalist and cameraman who entered the quarantine center have been placed under quarantine for fear they may have been infected with the coronavirus.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said they were surprised to see a television crew filming inside the quarantine center and endangering their lives and those of others. The Palestinians called the incident a “scandal” and demanded that those who authorized the filming inside the center be punished.
Several quarantine centers and field hospitals have been set up in various parts of the Gaza Strip in the past three weeks as part of an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The centers, where hundreds of Palestinians are under quarantine, are being guarded by Hamas policemen.
The first two confirmed coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip are those of Palestinians who returned from a visit to Pakistan. The two have been placed under quarantine. Seven Hamas police officers who came in contact with the two patients have also tested positive for the virus.


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