Photo: Reuters

Syria still reporting low COVID-19 rate

Syria’s near to non-existent COVID-19 -related examinations clearly reflects a corresponding low number of diagnosed carriers. Just 29 cases and 2 coronavirus-related fatalities have officially been registered.

The Health Ministry of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has enforced lockdowns on sections of Damascus. It has also launched a wide-scale operation to disinfect public areas across the territories under its control, while further urging citizens to exercise social distancing and maintain prudent hygiene.

And while a fragile ceasefire continues to hold in the country’s northwestern Jihadist-infested Idlib Governorate despite regular reports of sporadic violations, thousands of displaced residents of the war-torn region have reluctantly decided to abandon the perceived safety of the potentially hazardous refugee camps near the Turkish frontier to return to their homes, due to fear of the more greatly dreaded coronavirus.

“The living spaces (in the camp) are overcrowded, there’s been a lot of displacement recently, from Saraqeb, from the Maara, from Ariha, so (the camps) became very crowded,” said displaced Syrian Christian, Zakaria Shawish, adding, “We grew worried of diseases, so we decided to come back to our town, thank the Lord, savior of the world. We pray that we are safe here.”

Another displaced Syrian identified as Omar Mustafa told Reuters, “We returned to our towns, we fled from the corona (virus). Our towns don’t really have – this is springtime, so in the village the air is fresh and clean, it’s quieter than the town, there are no crowds, no smoke. Yes, this is a remote area, and yes it is dangerous, but there is nothing we can do about that.”

In the absences of a long list of disasters without respite, the war-torn country’s state-own SANA news agency reported this morning that ‘an earthquake was registered at 4.7 on the Richter scale, off the Syrian Mediterranean coast, at a depth of 40 kilometers to the north of Latakia city.’

According to the National Center for Seismic Monitoring, the tremors occurred at 10:40 this morning and were felt as far away as Turkey and Cyprus. The center further reported that an aftershock registering at 4.6 on the Richter scale at the earthquake’s epicenter.

There have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the earthquake.