Since the coronavirus first emerged in the blockaded Gaza Strip, a shortage of medical supplies has allowed authorities to administer only a relatively tiny number of Covid-19 tests.
Now, the sole laboratory in Gaza that processes test results has become temporarily inoperable after an Israeli airstrike nearby on Monday, officials in Gaza said.
The strike, which targeted a separate building in Gaza City, sent shrapnel and debris flying across the street, damaging the lab and the administrative offices of the Hamas-run Health Ministry, said Dr. Majdi Dhair, director of the ministry’s preventive medicine department.
One ministry employee was hospitalized and in serious condition after shrapnel struck him in the head, Dr. Dhair said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
a surge in cases in April, blamed mostly on the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first identified in Britain, new infections in Gaza had recently fallen to a manageable level, health experts said. But with Israeli airstrikes destroying buildings, causing widespread damage and leaving more than 200 people dead as of Monday, United Nations officials have warned that coronavirus cases could rise again.