News Alert: First Confirmed COVID-19 Case in Idlib, Syria

July 10, 2020

The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Idlib province, according to local health authorities.

Kieren Barnes, Mercy Corps Country Director for Syria, says:

“Up until now, Idlib and Aleppo governorates in Syria have been spared the uncontrolled outbreaks we've seen in other places around the world, but the report of the first confirmed case in Idlib governorate is an extremely disturbing development in a highly vulnerable area. Aid workers have feared the appearance of coronavirus in northwest Syria for months. The millions who live in this region are often residing in close quarters, may not have enough clean water for drinking and handwashing, and frequently lack the necessary resources to protect themselves.

“Since March, Mercy Corps teams have increased the amount of soap and water we provide to each family, and have delivered additional water tanks to improve safe water storage. We are also distributing COVID-19 flyers in camps and educating communities on the risks and how to stay safe.

“Too often, though, families tell us that they aren't able to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families. In displacement camps or mass shelters such as vacant mosques and schools, with the health infrastructure reduced to rubble around them, the odds are stacked against them.

Last year, Mercy Corps provided assistance to 1.48 million people across Syria. We are supporting those affected by the conflict in both Syria and neighboring countries by providing emergency assistance to meet basic needs, creating safe spaces for youth, increasing economic opportunities and more.