Health

First coronavirus death in northern Syria's Kurdish area: UN

By AFP

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A member of the Kurdish Red Crescent checks the temperature of a passenger arriving from Damascus to detect potential COVID-19 symptoms at a mobile site outside Qamishli airport in al-Hasakeh province on April 7th. [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

A man in his fifties has become the first person to die from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Kurdish-dominated northern Syria, UN officials said Friday (April 17th).

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it received notice Thursday of the death from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO "provided information indicating that a fatality at Qamishli National Hospital in north-east Syria on April 2nd had subsequently tested positive for COVID-19", OCHA said in a statement.

"Another family member is currently reportedly also in hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 with test results pending," it said, adding that active surveillance is ongoing in north-east Syria to detect additional potential cases.

The northern region is under Kurdish control, but the Syrian regime has a presence there, and the hospital in question is under its authority.

Kurdish authorities have accused the Syrian regime of failing to provide ventilators, testing and other equipment needed to tackle COVID-19.

"Syrian government practices... endanger the lives of north-east Syrians," the Kurdish administration said in a statement.

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