New COVID-19 Deaths in Gaza Reach Record High

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A Palestinian woman waiting for her husband at the COVID-19 intensive care unit of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, earlier this month.
A Palestinian woman waiting for her husband at the COVID-19 intensive care unit of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, earlier this month.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP
DPA

The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in the Gaza Strip reached an all-time high on Sunday, with 23 new deaths registered within 24 hours less than two weeks after a lockdown was declared in the face of a rise in infections.

In total, 761 people have already died after a coronavirus infection Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas, according to the Islamist organization's health ministry.

The pandemic is pushing Gaza's health system to its limits. As of Thursday, only about 33,000 residents had received a vaccination. About half of those have been fully vaccinated, or just 0.8 per cent of the population.

The United Arab Emirates has donated tens of thousands of doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Last month, the World Health Organization and its partners running the United Nations COVAX program delivered 61,400 vaccines to the Palestinian Authority, whereas 21,300 were shipped to the Gaza Strip. Also last month, Palestinian health authorities received 100,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China.

Israel has resisted international calls for it to vaccinate Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. It has agreed to vaccinate 100,000 Palestinians from the West Bank with permits to work in Israel or in West Bank settlements. It has also provided 2,000 doses to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.  

A Palestinian medic tends to a COVID-19 patient at the intensive care unit of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, earlier this month.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP

On May 22, the first parliamentary election in 15 years is scheduled to be held in the Palestinian territories.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 

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