World

Corona’s “nightmare” is coming true.. Idlib’s isolation “from blessing to curse”

Syria

Rumors and conspiracy theories about Corona vaccines and their side effects have led to many doses being stockpiled in Idlib, even though this Syrian province is one of the most vulnerable places in the world to infection, according to a report by the Washington Post . 

The rebels control the poor province, in northwest Syria, which is filled with displaced people, most of them crowded in dilapidated camps or settlements set up in olive groves or on the barren hillsides.

Hundreds of tents crowded many displaced Syrians in Idlib
Hundreds of tents crowded many displaced Syrians in Idlib

Ibrahim Abboud runs a hospital in Idlib, but his 52-year-old mother is among his patients who are in intensive care, due to her infection with the emerging corona virus. 

Abboud feels guilty, because he did not force his mother to take the anti-virus vaccine, although he pleaded with her to get the vaccination, but she was affected by the rumors that spread about him. 

Intensive care rooms in Idlib are very full with people with corona
Intensive care rooms in Idlib are very full with people with corona

With the start of the arrival of large quantities of vaccine doses, last April, conspiracy theories spread on social media, warning that the vaccines, coming from Britain and China, were either “lethal” or “a tool in outrageous and unidentified foreign conspiracies,” which made people refrain about getting vaccinated. 

While rumors spread, the governorate was largely besieged, which made its isolation a blessing at the time, as this contributed to preventing a rise in infections. 

Idlib Governorate, on the Turkish border, is home to those displaced from the ten-year war
Idlib Governorate, on the Turkish border, is home to those displaced from the ten-year war

But last August, injuries began to increase after Syrians residing in Turkey were allowed to visit Idlib for the Eid al-Adha holiday, as visitors brought the rapidly spreading mutant Delta with them, according to what the newspaper quoted doctors in the province as saying. 

The “nightmare scenario” that public health officials have long warned of began to emerge, as the virus raced to spread through hundreds of camps crowded with displaced people, “turning the blessing of the isolation that Idlib experienced into a curse,” according to the newspaper.

Corona virus is easy to spread among the tents crowded with the displaced in Idlib
Corona virus is easy to spread among the tents crowded with the displaced in Idlib

Since the beginning of the epidemic, Idlib and neighboring areas have recorded 78,000 injuries, 51,000 of them since last August only. 

And half of the 1,400 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic have only been recorded since last August, according to health officials, who told the newspaper that the actual numbers may be much greater due to the scarcity of testing tools. 

The scarcity of testing tools means that the number of real infections is much higher than detected
The scarcity of testing tools means that the number of real infections is much higher than detected

Although more than half a million doses of vaccine have been sent to the governorate and other areas in northwestern Syria, produced by the two companies AstraZeneca and Sinovac, the number of those who have been vaccinated so far is less than 40,000 people in Idlib, which means that only one percent of the population, They have been fully vaccinated against corona, according to the World Health Organization. 

Health officials are concerned that the crisis could worsen as winter approaches and camp residents are forced to stay indoors, especially that Idlib’s hospitals are largely ill-equipped and do not have sufficient ventilation. 

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