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First COVID-19 Cases Reported in Occupied Gaza, War-Stricken Syria and Afghanistan

HeadlineMar 23, 2020

In Gaza, the first two coronavirus cases were announced Saturday. Authorities have shut down restaurants and cafes and suspended Friday prayers as residents fear an outbreak will further cripple a health system already suffering from Israel’s blockade, which causes constant shortages of medicine and poor sanitation services. With a population of over 1.8 million people, the besieged Gaza Strip is also one of the most densely populated places on Earth and has often been called an “open-air prison.”

Meanwhile, shelter-in-place orders were announced in the occupied West Bank, where around 60 cases have been reported.

On Sunday, Syria announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 as humanitarian groups warn of the catastrophic effects the disease will have in the war-torn country.

In Afghanistan, a health official confirmed the country’s first coronavirus-related death Sunday.

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