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EU grants €71M in aid to Palestine to fight COVID-19

11th Apr 2020
EU grants €71M in aid to Palestine to fight COVID-19

By Said Ibicioglu and Hamdi Yildiz

 

JERUSALEM (AA): The European Union announced a 71 million euro ($77 million) financial aid package Thursday for Palestine to fight the novel coronavirus.

The EU said in a statement that the pledge was made during a meeting earlier in the day between its Jerusalem representative Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

The package reportedly includes around 10 million euros for six hospitals in East Jerusalem, 40 million euros for Palestinian Authority officials and six million euros for Palestinian businesses.

In addition, five million euros have been allocated to aid local communities and around seven million euros have been designated for NGOs working in the area.

However, Gaza is suffering most. Since 2006, Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, where nearly two million Palestinians live, and many sectors have been adversely affected, including the economy, health and education.

Twelve people in the Gaza Strip have been diagnosed with the coronavirus so far.

The Gaza Strip is facing severe shortages of equipment for diagnosing the novel coronavirus, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday.

The central laboratory in Gaza has halted testing after running out of coronavirus detection kits, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told reporters.

Noting that dozens of samples are still waiting to be examined, Qidra said 44% of medicines, 31% of medical consumables and 65% of laboratory supplies have also been depleted.

He said 1,018 patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.

The pandemic has killed more than 95,000 people and infected over 1.6 million, while more than 354,000 people have recovered from the disease, according to figures collated by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Davut Demircan

[Photo: Palestinian Nevin Abu Salim is seen with her drawings in Deir Al Balah, Gaza on April 10, 2020. After returning to Gaza Strip from her Umrah visit in Saudi Arabia, Nevin Abu Salim value her 14-day quarantine period by making instructional drawings for children to raise awareness on the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19). Photographer: Ali Jadallah/AA]

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