Palestine says 100,000 virus swabs damaged by Israel

23rd Sep 2020
Palestine says 100,000 virus swabs damaged by Israel

By Qais Abu Samra

 

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kailah on Tuesday accused Israel of damaging 100,000 swabs for coronavirus by hindering the passage of clinical materials from Jordan to the West Bank.

Speaking to the official Voice of Palestine Radio, al-Kailah said that the Israeli measures have caused a shortage of swabs necessary for testing the virus.

“What is available at the ministry is sufficient to conduct examinations for only three days,” she said, adding that there were “promises” that the next batch of swabs will arrive by Wednesday.

She noted that the entry of the swabs was coordinated with the United Nations.

As a result, she added, there is now a shortage in testing swabs in Palestine as the swabs available to the ministry would be sufficient to carry out tests for only three days, after which Palestine would run out of the swab supply.

The ministry would therefore rationalize the use of available testing swabs through restricting tests to close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients, she added.

She pointed out that Palestine is slated to receive additional swabs on Wednesday, and affirmed that 20,000 swabs were yesterday delivered from the World Health Organization to Gaza.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the accusation.

Israel controls the Al-Karama border crossing, the only crossing point between the West Bank and Jordan.

On Tuesday, Palestinian health authorities recorded five deaths, and 557 new virus infections, raising the tally to 46,634, including 314 deaths, and 33,602 recoveries.

Ibrahim Mukhtar contributed to this report from Ankara

[Archive Photo: Palestinian healthcare workers testing a student for coronavirus at the school convened by UNRWA clinic on 18 March 2020. Photographer: Ali Jadallah/AA]

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