April 17, 2020
The Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northeastern Syria said it had recorded its first death from the new coronavirus, according to a statement on Friday in which it cited the World Health Organization.
In the statement, the regional administration said a 53-year-old man had died at a hospital in Qamishli on April 2 and that a sample was sent to Damascus and tested positive for COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the coronavirus.
But it said health authorities in the northeast had not initially been made aware of the results.
An official at the Qamishli hospital, which falls under the control of Syria’s regime in Damascus, denied the existence of any coronavirus cases so far at the hospital.
Relief organizations have expressed concern about the coronavirus pandemic reaching northeastern Syria, where health infrastructure has been shattered by war and medical supplies are limited.
Damascus has reported 38 coronavirus cases and two deaths in regime-held areas. It has shut businesses, halted flights, and imposed a curfew to curb the spread of the virus.
In Syria, where years of conflict have led to humanitarian disasters, there is fear that the scope of the outbreak is unknown due to a lack of testing, supplies and trained professionals.