First Case of Coronavirus Appears Among Residents of Syrian Al Hol Camp

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Aug. 10, 2020)—After earlier cases of COVID-19 among health workers in Al Hol Camp, the first reported case of COVID-19 of a resident of the camp was confirmed today, Save the Children can reveal, as the number of cases reported across North East Syria rises to over 100.

Sonia Khush, Syria Response Director for Save the Children, said: 
"One of our worst fears has come to pass. An outbreak of COVID-19 in Al Hol camp is going to be challenging to control considering how overcrowded the camp is and how little access families have to water, personal hygiene items, tests, and protective equipment, with more than 65,000 people living in the camp at the moment.

"Sadly, there will be more cases. We need to act quickly to make sure we can limit the outbreak while minimizing the negative impact of the control measures on the children as well—such as isolation measures or the closure of education facilities.”  

She added: "This will be a children's crisis by any measure. As many as 43,000 children will be impacted by an outbreak in the camp. We are concerned about their stigmatization and their weakened immune systems, and how to make sure they’ll get through the next few weeks without additional emotional or psychological distress.

“We renew our calls for aid workers to be allowed full access to communities so we can do all we can to control the spread of infection, providing remote education and distributing soap and other personal hygiene items. We cannot afford the catastrophe of a large-scale outbreak for vulnerable communities in Al Hol.”

To learn more about our work in Syria, visit savethechildren.org/Syria.

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