SYRIA: Medical sources refute coronavirus numbers issued by Ministry of Health

DARAMSUQ (DAMASCUS) — Following the circulation of information on social media indicating that the number of coronavirus infections in Syria had reached 892 in Syria, officials of the Damascus Governorate responded in a special statement saying that the numbers mentioned include natural deaths, suspected cases of COVID-19, as well as confirmed cases of the virus.

However, the Director of the Health Directorate in Suwayda Province, Nizar Muhanna, wrote on his personal account that the testing resources in Syria are limited because of the war and years of sanctions and suggests that it is natural that the real number of coronavirus cases is much higher than the official records indicate.

Confirming the statement of Muhanna, the Dean of the Faculty of Human Medicine at Damascus University, Nabough al-Awa, told Syria Steps that the country is witnessing a large-scale outbreak of the virus with at least 100 suspected cases reaching hospitals daily.

Al-Awa also refuted the official number of infections in the country and questioned the government’s handling of the virus, saying that with the official numbers not reflecting the scale of the outbreak, it is sending the signal to Syrians that the virus is under control and that face masks and social distancing protocols aren’t necessary.

Little is being done by the central government to ensure that those infected or suspected to be infected with the coronavirus are getting the care they need. Due to the absence of adequate oversight of doctors, one doctor has reportedly requested a sum of 50,000 Syrian Pounds to check a person infected with the virus.