ZALIN ܒܝܬ ܙܠܝ̈ܢ (QAMISHLI), Syria – After declaring the cessation of Syrian aviation, a civilian plane carrying 20 passengers still managed to fly from Damascus to the airport in Zalin (Qamishli). Teams from the Red Crescent and other emergency medical teams rushed to the airport and conducted health status tests to screen for any suspected cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 infection.
All the passengers had been subjected to a “finger-prick” test which is carried out by the Health Directorate in North and East Syria.
The finger-prick test is an antibody test that can detect if a person has had coronavirus before and has since recovered. The test detects a past or mid- to late-stage asymptomatic infection within 30 seconds.
The Health Directorate in Zalin and the responding emergency teams confirmed that all the passengers had tested negative. All passengers were quarantined in the Havana Hotel in Zalin where they will stay for 14 days and released if they do not develop symptoms.
Passengers who are members of the Syrian government in Damascus also underwent finger-prick testing and were then sent to their barracks where they are to remain quarantined.
On Monday, the Syrian Ministry of Health in Damascus announced three new confirmed case of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 19. Two of the 19 have recovered, while another two have died.
International experts believe COVID-19 in Syria is much wider spread than official statistics show.