Civil war fuels Libya COVID-19 spread

Libya twin crises of COVID-19 and political conflict

from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) TERROR by armed groups is escalating the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in Libya.

The rebel groups are creating conditions ripe for the spread of the virus by hindering movement by humanitarian agencies and displacing civilians who are subsequently forced to find refuge in overcrowded conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) thus has appealed to the groups to allow humanitarian agencies to obtain access to health care facilities on the ground, especially in the south.

Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Libya, said it was essential that medical aid reached the most vulnerable communities displaced by fighting and people who faced the twin horrors of conflict and COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfettered access to health care is a human right, now more than ever,” she added.

As of Wednesday, Libya had 1 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

At least 34 people had died.

The majority of cases are in Sebha in the south. It is a major hub on the migration route from Africa to Europe.

More than 24 000 people have been displaced due to the fighting.

The North African country’s health system is near collapse, due to shortages in medical staff, supplies, medicine and equipment

More than 250 000 children are at risk of life-threatening diseases such as measles and polio.

“Health needs in Libya are immense, and Libyans are now also facing the additional threat of COVID-19,” said Hoff.

She said without a ceasefire, deaths would continue to die unnecessarily and children exposed to diseases that are entirely preventable.

“We cannot allow this to happen,” the envoy said.

– CAJ News

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