Gaza virus cases attended conference in Pakistan

Palestinian volunteers wearing protective clothes and masks disinfect a street as a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 22, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 24 March 2020

Gaza virus cases attended conference in Pakistan

  • The Palestinian embassy in Islamabad said the two attended an event with 250,000 Muslims in Pakistan last month

GAZA: Gaza’s first two confirmed coronavirus patients attended a conference with 250,000 Muslims in Pakistan last month that went ahead contrary to government advice, an official and family members said Monday.
Pakistani authorities had urged the cancelation of the five-day Tablighi Ijtema congregation, or Tablighi Jamaat in Arabic, hosted annually near Lahore.
But organizers from the conservative Sunni Muslim evangelical movement ignored government advice to postpone.
It was unclear where the two Palestinians — who returned to Gaza from Pakistan via Egypt earlier this month — contracted COVID-19.
But a statement from the Palestinian embassy in Islamabad said the two attended the event which took place “despite the warning of the Pakistani authorities against conferences.”
Omar Al-Tabatibi said his 79-year-old grandfather Mohammed and friend Amer Doghmosh had attended the Lahore event.
Previous statements from health officials had misidentified the men as being between 30 and 40.

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“My grandfather learnt about the conference by chance from a friend while he was in Pakistan so he wanted to attend,” Tabatibi said.
After returning from Pakistan his grandfather stayed several days in Egypt before taking the long journey overland to Gaza, Tabatibi said.
“Maybe my grandfather caught corona in Egypt and not Pakistan, no one knows,” he added.
He said the family had already been subjected to abuse on social media and in person since the news broke.
“My little brother went to a games shop today and the owner told him to go home as his grandfather has corona.”
Gaza’s health ministry said the two men were placed in quarantine immediately after crossing into Gaza and did not mix with the population.
It described them as being in stable condition.
Omar said his grandfather has pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure and diabetes.
“I spoke to him last night on the phone and he told me he was ok and is recovering,” he said.
The United Nations has warned that a COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza could be disastrous, given the high poverty rates and weak health system in the coastal strip under Israeli blockade since 2007.


Erdogan says only solution in Mediterranean is dialogue

Updated 13 August 2020

Erdogan says only solution in Mediterranean is dialogue

  • Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, are vehemently at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region

ANKARA: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the only solution to Turkey’s dispute with Greece over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean was through dialogue and negotiation, and Ankara was not chasing any “adventures” in the region.
Turkey and Greece, NATO allies, are vehemently at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region, and tensions have risen since Ankara launched exploration operations in a disputed area of the Mediterranean on Monday, in a move Greece called illegal.
Speaking to members of his ruling AK Party, Erdogan said the escalation of tensions in the region was caused by Greece, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights. “The path to a solution in the eastern Mediterranean is via dialogue and negotiation. We are not chasing any unnecessary adventures or seeking tensions,” he said.