GAZA CITY: Uniquely shielded with enforced isolation and confinement from the rest of the world for years, Gazans better understand the current situation in the wake of the (COVID-19) coronavirus pandemic.
Because of the years-long restrictions on the movement of people and goods, Gazans has sparked a surge of bitter feelings on social media.
Comparing the world-wide lockdowns to the Israeli blockade, one social media user, as per Reuters reports, posted, “Have you got bored with your quarantine, the closure of your crossings, your airports and your trade? We in Gaza have been living this for 14 years.”
“Oh world, welcome into our permanent reality,” he added.
Other social users highlighted the adoption of teleconferencing and other practices in the wake of the lockdown in developed countries that was forced on them had very little to do with Gaza where people are living in inhumane conditions.
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Israel has enforced its blockade since 2007, when the Islamist group Hamas seized control of Gaza.
Much of Gaza’s population live in overcrowded refugee camps, with large families common.
With movement in and out of the territory severely restricted as they are already cut off from the world since long before the pandemic emerged, the Gaza Strip is perhaps one of the few places on earth with a chance of staying virus-free.
But experts warn that the crippling blockade and high poverty rates, along with a densely-packed population and weak health system, create perfect conditions for a rapid outbreak, with one comparing the risk of transmission to that on a cruise ship.
The United Nations has warned that a COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza could be disastrous, given the high poverty rates and weak health system in the coastal strip under Israeli blockade since 2007.
Israeli restrictions and political tensions have caused Gaza’s health facilities to deteriorate over the past decade, said Gerald Rockenschaub, head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Palestinian office.
The Strip has only 60 intensive care (ICU) beds for its two million people and not all are operational due to staff shortages, he told.
With AFP inputs