Syria activates emergency hospital over increasing COVID-19 cases

Syrian health authorities have activated an emergency hospital established recently to deal with the increasing number of patients, Ahmad al-Dumairia, the head of Syrian hospitals, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Established at a tennis court inside the Faiha sports stadium north of Syrian capital Damascus, the emergency hospital is equipped with 120 beds, 300 oxygen cylinders as well as 50 Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, in addition to a qualified and trained medical team to receive the COVID-19 cases.

The hospital, established in August as part of the preparation for the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, received the first batch of patients on Tuesday, said Al-Dumairia.

The health authorities are also ready to designate another tennis court to accommodate additional 120 patients, he added.

“The goal of establishing the hospital is to reduce the pressure on other hospitals,” he told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, al-Dumairia said that the health sector in Syria is facing difficulties as a result of the Western sanctions imposed on Syria, noting that the economic siege is creating difficulties in terms of securing the spare parts for the oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment as well as medicine.

Tawfiq Hasaba, director of the emergency department at Syrian Health Ministry, said earlier in the day that the number of officially registered cases of COVID-19 had increased five times since mid-November.

The new fresh spike indicates the start of a new wave of the virus, he said, according to the state news agency SANA.

The number of the infections the ministry is declaring only includes the cases tested positive as a result of the PCR test, said Tawfiq Hasaba, noting that the figures who receive treatment in the clinics and houses double.

There are currently more than 1,200 people with corona symptoms who are being monitored and awaiting the results of the PCR tests.

He indicated that more than 80 percent of the cases are mild symptoms similar to the seasonal flu.

On Monday, the ‘Government Team,’ which tasked with adopting measures to confront COVID-19 in Syria, decided to tighten the restrictions in public places by imposing the masks on all people in public transpiration and government establishments.

During a meeting headed by Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, the team decided to shut tourist facilities and restaurants which don’t adhere to the safety measures taken to confront the coronavirus.

Since March, a total of 9,452 cases have been officially reported in government-controlled areas in Syria with the actual number is expected to be much higher.