SOHR: Rise of coronavirus cases in most Syrian cities, security authorities hiding truth

DARAMSUQ (DAMASCUS) — Yesterday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the areas under the control of the Syrian government witnessed a large outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. SOHR, citing medical sources in Damascus, Homs, Latakia, and Tartus, reported that the number of cases quarantined as a result of the virus increased to 128. Fifty-six people were removed from quarantine after testing negative for the virus, while 72 people remained in quarantine awaiting the results of the tests. According to one source, a nurse died from COVID-19 but security authorities demanded complete silence.

In the city of Mayadin, east of Deir ez-Zor, the number of people infected by the coronavirus has risen to 15, mostly pro-Iranian militiamen. Eleven are Iranian nationals, four are Iraqi.

SOHR has reportedly sent letters to the World Health Organization, urging it to pressure the Syrian government in Damascus to be transparent about the true number of cases of COVID-19 within its area of control in the interest of public safety.

The Syrian Minister of Health Dr. Nizar Yazigi announced yesterday evening that the first case of COVID-19 infection has been recorded in Syria. The patient, a 20-year-old girl from outside the country, doesn’t show sever symptoms.

The Syrian government in Damascus has recently taken a number of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the suspension of market operations to military service, the suspension of newspaper production, and the closure of all border crossings with Lebanon to non-commercial traffic. Twenty-eight schools have been designated as emergency hospitals and a general amnesty has been issued for all non-violent crimes committed before 22 March to alleviate overcrowding in the country’s prisons.