Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say

Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say
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Palestinian healthcare workers wait to check patients at Shifa hospital amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gaza City November 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say
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A Palestinian man carries his son on his shoulders as he leaves Shifa hospital amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gaza City November 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say
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Palestinians wearing protective face masks sit at Shifa hospital amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gaza City November 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say
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A Palestinian woman wearing on a protective face mask speaks on her phone as she stands next to a coronavirus-themed mural amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gaza City November 22, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 November 2020

Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say

Gaza’s health system days from being overwhelmed by COVID-19, advisers say

GAZA: A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave’s meagre medical system by next week, public health advisers said on Sunday.
Gaza, where the dense and poor population of 2 million is vulnerable to contagions, has logged 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths, mostly since August.
Seventy-nine of Gaza’s 100 ventilators have been taken up by COVID-19 patients, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a microbiologist who is part of the enclave’s pandemic task force.
“In 10 days the health system will become unable to absorb such a hike in cases and there might be cases that will not find a place at intensive care units,” he said, adding that the current 0.05% mortality rate among COVID-19 patients could rise.
Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers have so far imposed one lockdown. A long-standing Israeli blockade, which is supported by neighboring Egypt, has crippled the Gazan economy and undermined its public health apparatus.
Israel says it is trying to keep weapons from reaching Hamas, against which it has fought three wars and whose facilities it struck earlier on Sunday in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket launch against one of its southern cities.
“We are not giving Hamas any ‘coronavirus discounts’,” Israeli cabinet minister Izhar Shay told Army Radio. “We will continue responding as appropriate.”
But Shay said Israel was enabling international humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, adding: “This is the level that we can preserve in the coronavirus context.” Abdelnaser Soboh, emergency health lead in the World Health Organization’s Gaza sub-office, cautioned, however, that “within a week, we will become unable to care for critical cases.”
The infection rate among those being tested was 21%, with a relative increase in carriers over the age of 60, he said.
“This is a dangerous indicator since most of (those over 60) may need to be hospitalized,” Soboh added.


Netanyahu greets 316 Ethiopian immigrants as they land in Israel

Updated 25 min 18 sec ago

Netanyahu greets 316 Ethiopian immigrants as they land in Israel

Netanyahu greets 316 Ethiopian immigrants as they land in Israel
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, who has become a vocal supporter of Falash Mura immigration, was on hand at the airport to greet the first group of arrivals
  • The Falash Mura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity — many under duress — in the 18th and 19th centuries

TEL AVIV: More than 300 Ethiopians landed in Israel Thursday after the government approved immigration plans for 2,000 members of their Falash Mura community, whose desire to move to the Jewish state has stirred controversy.
The Falash Mura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity — many under duress — in the 18th and 19th centuries.
They are not recognized as Jews by Israel’s Orthodox rabbinical authorities, but claim the right to immigrate under family reunification rules.
The government approved about 9,000 claimants in 2015 but then rescinded the decision the following year, citing budgetary constraints.
Some groups in Israel, including members of the Ethiopian community, have opposed immigration of the Falash Mura, citing doubts over their claim to be Jewish.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has become a vocal supporter of Falash Mura immigration, was on hand at the airport to greet the first group of 316 arrivals.
“Dear brothers and sisters of ours, immigrants from Ethiopia, we are so moved to welcome you here,” Netanyahu told the new immigrants, according to a government statement.
The remaining roughly 1,700 Falash Mura Ethiopians are expected to arrive by the end of January, according to the immigration plan approved by Netanyahu’s cabinet in October.
The bulk of Ethiopia’s Jewish community was brought to the country between 1984 and 1991 under the Law of Return, which guarantees Israeli citizenship to all Jews.
The Ethiopian-Israeli community has since grown to 140,000-strong, including 50,000 born in Israel.
Many say they faced racial discrimination, notably abuse by Israel’s police.