Note: Coronavirus cases reported, in resource poor areas of Gaza and the West Bank, are underestimated due to the lack of testing.
Letter highlighting the Gaza Strip’s vulnerability to the Covid-19 pandemic removed from The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical journals. (Middle East Policy, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, Summer 2020)
Gaza Strip on Verge of Real Collapse Due to Coronavirus Outbreak and Ongoing Israeli Closure. August 27,2020
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) warns of the collapse of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip due to the closure imposed by the Israeli authorities on the Gaza Strip for 14 years along with the serious challenges following the outbreak of coronavirus across the Gaza Strip, where 26 coronavirus cases were confirmed and 2 deaths were reported during the past two days outside the quarantine centers.
Health officials in Gaza sounded the alarm today after the first cases of the coronavirus were reported outside of the territory’s quarantine centers.
Gaza’s Past, Present, and Future with Wafaa Ali Aludaini & Ahmed Abu Artema [July 28, 2020]
Gaza has a storied history of resistance, culture, and complexities. The besieged Gaza Strip and the fate of it’s resilient population are critical to the greater demand for Palestinian freedom and justice. To unpack how life in Gaza came to be, how it’s people survive and thrive in 2020 under a brutal blockade, and what might lay ahead for Gazans, author and activist, Miko Peled, invited two spectacular Gazan writers and activists to provide their truth telling and expert analysis.
Gaza Mental Health Foundation posed two questions during this session (1:08:30):
1. Can you share your own or others’ experiences on how the situation in Gaza has impacted mental health, and how you think that manifests itself both mentally and physically?
2. In addition, how has the coronavirus pandemic impacted Gaza?
Psycho-Social & Physical Health In Gaza Under COVID-19 & Siege [June 13, 2020]
This special session featured Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and Dr. Bassam Zaqout of the Palestine Medical Relief Society. [View]
Support the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme by donating through our website.
Information on supporting the Palestine Medical Relief Society can be found at Friends of the PMRS.
Palestinians Report First Coronavirus Death in Gaza [May 23, 2020]
Spike in new coronavirus cases puts Gaza on edge. [May 21, 2020]
Coronavirus infections among residents returning to Gaza has more than doubled the number of cases in the strip in recent days, raising fears of a bigger outbreak. [Read]
Healthcare workers preparedness for COVID-19 pandemic in the occupied Palestinian territory [May 13, 2020]
- There is a severe lack of PPE (mainly N95 masks, eye protection, and face shields) among healthcare workers in Palestine.
- There is a disparity in PPE availability between Gaza Strip and West Bank and between governmental and non-governmental hospitals.
- Most healthcare workers don’t feel confident in dealing with a potential COVID-19 case.
Who matters? Pandemic in a time of structural violence [May 5, 2020]
An Opinion piece by Alice Rothchild in Mondoweiss, an independent website devoted to informing readers about developments in Israel/Palestine and related US foreign policy.
If the Coronavirus Devastates Gaza, Israel Will Be to Blame [April 18, 2020]
Award-winning journalist Jonathan Cook writes that “For decades Israel has pursued a policy of treating Palestinians as less than human. It has minutely controlled their lives while denying any meaningful responsibility for their welfare. That deeply unethical and inhumane stance could soon face the ultimate test.” [Read]
Gaza runs out of coronavirus tests, Palestinian health officials say [April 8, 2020]
Gaza has no more coronavirus test kits, Palestinian health officials have advised. “Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out,” Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said. Officials have voiced concern that a shortage of critical equipment and medical supplies could set off a rapid spread among the enclave’s two million people. [Read]
Updates from the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: Health and Human Rights Media Watch
April 1, 2020 [Read]
A Message from GCMHP head Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei [April 5, 2020]
Two days ago it was announced that 2 new cases of COVID 19 were discovered in Gaza Strip. Both were in quarantine centers and it’s most likely that they are people returning to Gaza from abroad. Total number of cases is now 12 and we hope this doesn’t increase. The local authorities have announced all academic and education institutions will continue to be closed until further notice. This was a decision that was taken early March and was to be revisited end of last month. All gatherings continue to be not allowed including weddings, funerals, restaurants and local open markets. Mosques are not open for prayers since last week. Yesterday, our president announced extending the emergency period for another month. There is a great anxiety and fear in Gaza that the health system will not be able to handle an outbreak or if the number becomes hundreds. Hospitals are not prepared and we have around 60 ventilators and most of the quarantine centers are just schools.
Since the beginning of these developments GCMHP took several measures and prepared a crisis response plan. The plan aims at maintaining GCMHP services as much as possible specially the therapeutic ones and taking all possible safety measures. The main measures are as follows:
- Scale up activities related to awareness raising of issues related to COVID 19 and the psychological impact of the measures taken by the community on the population. Activities include radio and tv programmes, spots, publications and the use of social media platforms. Also, free telephone counseling service to be increased and capable of responding to 5 calls at a time rather than one.
- Scaling down activities: These aim at reducing contact between staff and clients and between clients themselves and mainly related to clinical interventions. We are keeping our three community centers working at their usual working hours however will reduce exposure through increasing duration between follow up visit and give medications for longer periods. Patients will be visiting each second or third week rather than on weekly basis. At the same time, patients will be able to reach our community centers or free counseling lines.
- Postponing or modifying activities: As gatherings are not anymore possible, activities like public meetings and workshops stopped and replaced with radio and TV programmes. Training courses are mostly postponed till the crisis is over. However online teaching still takes place and we are introducing more meetings over Skype, Zoom and other means of communication. This also applies to activities that target our colleagues who receive supervision or care for caregivers as we will try to maintain them online. Work with schools and kindergartens is put on halt till reopening the education system.
Our staff are doing their best as we are interested in maintaining our services, staying with our clients and take safety measures. All staff are expected to be working at our premises or remotely for the activities that could be carried remotely.
We put these actions together and modified our workplan for the months April – September and we hope it won’t take that long till we are back to normal life. We are also reaching our donors as we need their approvals for the modifications and we hope that things will be fine.
And as I stated this e-mail, please stay safe, stay home as much as possible and my best wishes to everyone at your end.
Yasser AbuJamei MD
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
phone +972 8 2641511 – 2641512
fax +972 8 2641510
mobile +972 59 9770377
Coronavirus enters the Gaza Strip
On March 22 Palestinian health authorities detected the first two cases of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. The two Palestinian men had returned from Pakistan via Egypt and were placed in quarantine in Rafah. Living in one of the most densely-crowded places on earth, where 98% of the water is not fit to drink and the health care system is collapsing, the 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip are considered to be highly endangered by the pandemic.
Here, Jehad Abusalim, a Gaza policy analyst now studying at New York University, describes why the virus presents such a deadly threat to the Gaza Strip. [Read]