Jordan: First cases of COVID-19 among Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees near the Zaatari refugee camp Syrian refugees near the Zaatari refugee camp REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

08 September 2020

People tested positive for Covid-19 after had contact with two infected refugees are being separated and isolated

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) confirmed two cases of Covid-19 in the Azraq camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan which inhabits around 40,000 Syrian Refugees who have fled Syrian Civil War. These two patients have been transferred to the quarantine facility after testing positive and more testing is being currently carried out for all people they were in contact with.

"It is a reminder that everyone has been affected by this epidemic, and solutions must be addressed through international solidarity and cooperation," UNHCR’s statement said. Mohammad Hawari, Spokesperson for UNHCR, reported that two patients are quarantined in the Dead Sea isolation center. Refugees in the camp who have come in contact with infected patients have also been moved to an ‘isolated zone’ inside the camp itself. The camp also has 14 hospital beds designated for the Covid-19 patients. However, people are concerned that the virus could easily spread to other people in the camp. “The developments this week have obviously been a worrying situation for all, but especially for refugees living in the camps. Crowded spaces and cramped living conditions make social distancing difficult,” said Dominik Bartsch, the UNHCR representative in Jordan.

There are around 40,000 refugees in Azraq Camp and around 80,000 in Zaatari which is a much larger camp in Jordan itself. Jordan is home to around 650,000 Syrian Refugees, most of them have not been accommodated in camps. Jordan has reported around 2,478 cases of Covid-19 and 19 deaths due to the virus. Around 5.5 million have fled Syria since the country broke into war in 2011 with most of them fleeing to neighboring countries and struggling to make ends meet. The virus has taken a heavy toll on the region’s economies. Experts are suggesting that stopping Covid-19 infections can become difficult owing to the poor living conditions of the refugees in the camps.


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Author: Saumya Bhardwaj

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