Syria has been a major source of refugees to Europe, fleeing the violence created by American and European geopolitical meddling and planning, but less has been said about the spread of COVID-19 in her borders. According to one Christian doctor speaking to Asia News, the American and EU sanctions are gravely worsening the on-the-ground situation for Syria and making it possible for a wide outbreak of COVID-19.
In order to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is still contained in Syria, it is essential to scrap European (and US) sanctions against Syria, this according to Nabil Antaki, a Christian doctor specialising in gastroenterology, who spoke to AsiaNews.
Q: Syria up to now doesn’t seem to have been hit hard by coronavirus cases. Do you think the official numbers are true or are cases underestimated?
A: I think that the true number of people with coronavirus is higher that the official declared number of cases. This is mainly due to the very little number of people tested. We are not doing large-scale screening in Syria; only severely ill patients are tested. I don’t think that the authorities are hiding the number of cases, they don’t have any interest in doing so; nobody will blame them if they declare more cases since they took all preventive measures to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus
Q: After so many years of war are you ready to face the pandemic or is the health system in crisis?
A: No, we are not [prepared]. Syria’s well-functioning health sector before the war has been so badly degraded by the effects of war and by the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US. If the epidemic becomes more severe, we don’t have enough equipment, like ventilators, beds in Intensive care units . . . to face it.
Q: Are refugee camps and displaced people a source of trouble?
A: Displaced people and refugees in camps are the most vulnerable people and a source of concern, but fortunately up until now they are not more affected than others. (source)