May 25, 2020 – The Gaza Health Ministry reported the first Novel Coronavirus death in the sieged territory of Gaza amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Health Ministry reported on Saturday, “Fadila Muhammad Abu Raida, aged 77, from the Khan Younes governorate, died in isolation in hospital at the Rafah Crossing due to her infection with coronavirus.”
The 77-year-old woman suffered from a prior chronic illness and had travelled to Gaza through neighboring Egypt on May 19. She had been quarantined as a precaution since then.
There has been a recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases among the residents returning to Gaza, causing COVID-19 infections to double in the Gaza Strip raising fears of a larger outbreak.
Gaza Authorities managed to limit the COVID-19 cases to 20, with its border being shut for Egypt and Israel to contain its spread.
In recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who were stuck in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from Israel. Preventive measures in the enclave had also been relaxed, with cafes and restaurants being allowed to reopen amid the outbreak in recent weeks.
The United Nations has warned that a coronavirus outbreak in Gaza could be devastating, given the high poverty rate and weakened health care system which is in Israel’s blockade since 2007. Home to two million people, the Gaza strip has only a few more the 60 ventilators and a chronic shortage of medical supplies.
Quarantining at hotels, clinics and schools for all residents returning via Israel and Egypt was imposed by Hamas since mid-March, but with recent surge in cases Hamas said it is going to close Gaza’s borders for all arrivals until the end of June.