Middle East, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UNRWA temporarily suspends aid to Gaza over coronavirus

Gaza confirmed first two coronavirus cases on Sunday

Mohammad Majid   | 23.03.2020
UNRWA temporarily suspends aid to Gaza over coronavirus

GAZA CITY, Palestine

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has temporarily suspended aid to the Gaza Strip after the detection of two coronavirus cases in the territory.

"UNRWA food aid will be temporarily suspended until finding a safer way to deliver aid," UNRWA spokesperson Adnan abu Hasna said in a statement.

"The suspension is a precautionary measure to maintain the safety of [UNRWA]'s staff and beneficiaries," he said.

Health authorities in the Gaza Strip confirmed the first two cases of coronavirus on Sunday after two people returning from Pakistan tested positive for the virus.

Home to around 2 million people, the Gaza Strip has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.

According to UN figures, there are around 1.4 million refugees in the densely-populated territory.

The virus first emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 180 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

There are over 339,250 confirmed cases worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 14,700, while more than 98,830 have recovered.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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