Up to Thursday about 3,500 Palestinians will be able to leave for Egypt, according to the Interior Ministry of Gaza, a territory which is governed by the Hamas movement.
Since the start of the pandemic in March, all people entering and leaving Gaza must present a medical certificate proving they are not infected with the new coronavirus. Local authorities also imposed two-week isolation on all those who entered the strip.
Measures like this made Gaza able to contain the expansion of the pandemic until the end of August when the first local infections were detected in a refugee camp. The territory was then subjected to strict confinement, which was gradually lifted until October.
Since a week ago, however, infections and morbidity have been increasing markedly. To control the situation, Gaza's health authorities asked commercial establishments to close at 5 pm and decreed a night curfew.
Palestinians, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, wait to cross onto the Egyptian side at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. (Anadolu Ajansı - �� Ali Jadallah) #Gaza#COVID19pic.twitter.com/z5m5DHS1Dt
They also detected several successive spikes in infections over the past week, breaking a record on Saturday, with nearly 900 infections diagnosed in 24 hours.
These figures are alarming in an enclave where at least two million people live, the health system is precarious, there is a shortage of medical resources, and the situation could spiral out of control if the curve is not flattened.
Since the start of the pandemic, 16,100 COVID-19 cases and 72 deaths have been registered in Gaza. Some 6,500 cases are still active, 285 patients are hospitalized, and 109 people are in critical condition.