‘Syria medics dying for want of virus protection’

3 September, 2020 12:00 AM printer

BEIRUT: Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that frontline staff battling the novel coronavirus in government-held areas of Syria are dying in growing numbers for want of personal protective equipment, reports AFP.

It reported multiple deaths of doctors in August from Covid-19-related symptoms, many of which did not appear in government figures because no test was carried out.

“It is bewildering that as the obituaries for doctors and nurses responding to the Covid-19 pandemic pile up, official numbers tell a story at odds with the reality on the ground,” said HRW researcher Sara Kayyali.

Syria has recorded 2,830 cases, including 116 deaths, in government-held areas, but the health ministry has acknowledged it lacks the “capacity... to carry out widespread testing in the provinces”.

HRW said evidence suggested the official figures significantly understate the scale of the outbreak.

It said it had confirmed the deaths of 33 doctors from Covid-19-related symptoms in August, while official figures recorded 64 confirmed deaths among the whole population.