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  • The Palestinian territory, which is controlled by the Hamas movement, has so far recorded 13 cases.

    The Palestinian territory, which is controlled by the Hamas movement, has so far recorded 13 cases. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 9 April 2020

"Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out," Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

The Gaza Strip has no coronavirus testing kits left, Palestinian health authorities said Wednesday, raising the alarm that the enclave, which is facing severe shortages of equipment, may rapidly be overwhelmed by the outbreak.

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"Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out," Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

The Palestinian territory, which is controlled by the Hamas movement, has so far recorded 13 cases. Infected people have been sent to a hastily erected quarantine site at Rafah on the border with Egypt.

Qidra asked international organizations to provide the Strip with testing tools, 100 ventilators, and 140 ICU beds, as dozens of people are waiting to be examined.

At the Islamic University of Gaza, two engineers have been working to create alternative ventilators.

Most of the factories in the territory have tried to organize and begun producing medical and protective gear. One factory owner told Middle East Eye he was able to produce 10,000 facemasks daily, half of which are being exported to Israel.

In the middle of a global pandemic, Israel has been imposing conditions on the assistance it might offer to people in Gaza. The Jewish state requested the return of two soldiers who went missing during the 2014 war in the enclave.

About two million people are crammed in Gaza, a thin coastal enclave that has been under an Israeli siege for 13 years. The illegal blockade has decimated its economy, deprived its residents of freedom of movement, and prevented the entry of critical necessities.

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel not only blocked the territory but has also been waging several deadly conflicts that left the enclave impoverished and with meager services.

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