Palestinians say Gaza’s only COVID testing lab hit in IDF strike

The Gaza Strip’s only Covid-19 laboratory is no longer able to carry out testing due to an Israeli airstrike on the clinic housing it, Hamas officials say.

Al-Rimal clinic, in the town of the same name in the Gaza Strip, was partly destroyed, while the territory’s health ministry and the office of Qatar’s Red Crescent were also hit, officials say.

Medical personnel at the ministry were wounded, some critically, the Hamas-run enclave’s deputy health minister Yousef Abu al-Rish tells reporters.

Before the military escalation between Hamas and Israel a week ago, authorities in Gaza tested an average of some 1,600 people per day.

The rate of positive tests was among the highest in the world, at 28 percent, and hospitals have been overwhelmed by patients.

Former Palestinian health minister Jawad al-Tibi receives a shot of the COVID-19 Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, in Gaza City, Febuary 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The enclave of two million residents has so far received 122,000 vaccine doses, more than half of which have not been administered, according to the World Health Organization.

WHO says 103,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Gaza, of whom over 930 have died.


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