NUSADAILY.COM – JAKARTA – The UN refugee agency is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan camps after the first cases were confirmed last week, said the head of the UNHCR in the country, Saturday (12/9).
UNHCR confirmed three cases of coronavirus in the country’s largest Syrian refugee camp, Zaatari, near the border with Syria. It has also confirmed that two cases emerged in the smaller camp, Azraq.
The infections in the two camps, which are home to some 120,000 refugees, are the first confirmed cases since the pandemic in Jordan reportedly first emerged in March.
“This week’s development is clearly a worrying situation for all, especially for the refugees living in the camps. Overcrowded spaces and cramped living conditions make physical distancing difficult, “said UNHCR representative in Jordan, Dominik Bartsch.
Refugees who test positive for COVID-19 are sent to an isolation area built by the Jordanian government near the Dead Sea. Meanwhile, the families of patients who came in contact with those with coronavirus are being quarantined inside the camps, according to the UN agency.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian Ministry of Health conducted thousands of COVID-19 tests, restricted access in and out of camps and trained medical staff, Bartsch said.
Infections in refugee camps emerged as the country’s COVID-19 cases spiked since early September.
Jordan is the main host country for Syrian refugees, who have fled nearly a decade of civil war in their homeland. The United Nations records about 655,000 Syrian refugees in the kingdom. (int1)