What Happened Over the Weekend

Coronavirus preparedness steps up, Syria and ChIna discuss prevention, Libya warns of foreign fighter infections and migrants rescued off Cypriot coast. Catch up on everything that happened over the weekend.

1. Health Minister Dr. Nizar Yazigi said that precautionary measures are still being taken and readiness for confronting the coronavirus (COVID-19) is being increased, noting that all test results conducted so far have come back negative and that no cases have been registered to date. In a statement to journalists on Saturday, according to SANA ,Yazigi said that in addition to setting up the al-Zabadani National Hospital as a fully-staffed quarantine center, the ministry is also working to prepare other places to serve as quarantine centers for Syrians, who have travelled from countries with confirmed cases, so that they can remain isolated for 14 days while tests are conducted to verify their health condition.

2. Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Damascus, Feng Biao, discussed the great efforts made by China to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the continuous coordination between the two sides to enhance everything that would confront the virus and prevent its arrival to Syria. SANA reported that both sides discussed benefiting from the Chinese experience in dealing with the coronavirus and enhancing all procedures and requirements to prevent any infection in Syria.

3. Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has said the influx of foreign mercenaries to fight alongside rival factions risks exposing the war-ravaged country to the coronavirus, according to the Financial Times. The Tripoli-based UN-backed government, which is fighting the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by rogue warlord Khalifa Haftar, accused a Syrian airline of transporting soldiers from the Syrian regime, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of facilitating the spread of the deadly virus. Syria’s Cham Wings carrier has been used to transport foreign fighters connected to the Russian Wagner Group, a private military contractor.

4. The Health Ministry has designated the al-Zabadani National Hospital in Damascus countryside as a medical isolation center should any coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are confirmed in Syria, SANA reported. This new move comes within the framework of the government’s procedures to confront coronavirus. Director of Damascus Health Directorate Yasin Na’nous said that the al-Zabadani National Hospital contains 100 beds and an eight-bed intensive care room and four ventilators, adding that work is underway to prepare four more ventilators.

5. Police in northern Cyprus said Saturday that they had rescued 175 Syrians from the sea after authorities in the island’s south stopped them from disembarking the previous day, AFP reported. The eastern Mediterranean island is divided between the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus and the northern third under Turkish control. Police in the north said the refugees, including 69 children, were rescued overnight after their boat sank not far from shore, south of the Karpas Peninsula. They were taken to a sports facility in the Iskele district and would undergo medical examinations, police added.

 

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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