Why Syria Might Not Win Over Second Corona Wave

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Syria is facing a situation like India where there is a dearth of oxygen supply as the numbers of Covid-19 cases are on the rise. The major problem is that 90 percent of the country is living in poverty.

Credible data collection is a bleak possibility. This is another reason that actual numbers of affected are not ascertained. As Covid-19 cases of infection are on the rise, the lack of testing and care giving equipment is only going to exasperate the health crises in the making.

The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have warned to brace for impact. As of now, most of those suffering from poverty are either living in areas in Kurdish or rebel areas. A single functional Covid-19 testing laboratory is going to run out of testing kits in the next one week.

More than 5,300 cases have been confirmed in the area in April alone, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) – more than half of the total for the whole of 2020. Currently, more than 47% of tests are coming back positive. The country has primarily depended on funding from NGOs and UN aided programmes or partner nations. Seven such funding options have closed shop, limiting access to life saving drugs, oxygen and testing equipment too.

Vaccine supply has come late. The first lot has been received only last week in the rebel and Islamist-controlled north-west Syria. This is because Syria falls under the poor nation’s category and is covered under the COVAX scheme of things. Some 50,000 vaccine doses outnumber the population that requires vaccination.

Another uncertainty that hangs precariously over the troubled population in Idlib and the surrounding areas is whether; further vaccine shipments for the rebel enclave will reach elsewhere in Syria. The country might not have been hit by a new variant as of now. Meanwhile, Assad is using his political connections to receive the Russian vaccine of Sputnik-V for the population.

Russia has been instrumental in fueling the civil war in Syria and will stand to gain from this partnership with Assad regime that is preparing for elections in May 2021.

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