Terrorists in Libya have attacked the country’s only COVID-19 hospital. The war-stricken country is now at a higher risk of being unable to curb the virus. Will something be done?
Based in Tripoli, the Al-Khadra Hospital is the latest victim of the war between the country’s ruling government and separatists. Crucial medical supplies got destroyed by Grad missiles aimed at its warehouses.
The government says that the Khalifa Haftar led renegade group was responsible for the hospital attack.
It was not the first attack on the hospital. In the previous week, there was heavy shelling at the hospital. At least three civilians were injured.
Libya has been in war since 2011 and after the era of former leader Muammar Gadaffi.
In 2014, two rival administrations divided the country into two regions.
Toughest place to live in
The administrations are; the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA).
The Tripoli-based GNA is recognized by the UN as the legitimate government of Libya. Fayez al-Sarra, the Prime Minister, is the leader.
On the other hand, the LNA is led by a renegade general, Khalifa Haftar. He commands the House of Representatives based in eastern Libya.
These two groups have been warring and launching attacks at each other.
By the time of the attack, the country had 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It had also recorded one death from the virus.
Highest vulnerability to emerging outbreaks
Despite this, Libya had begun taking steps to help stop the spread of the virus.
For instance, the government had released at least 450 prisoners to protect them from contracting the virus.
It had also instilled a 2 pm to 7 am curfew as well as banning intercity travel. These were measures aimed at curbing the virus and Libyans had begun to get used to them.
But with the attack on its major hospital, this fight now suffers a major setback.
Badereldine al-Najar confirmed this saying that the country will now not be in a position to effectively fight the virus. al-Najr is the head of the National Center for Disease Control n Libya.
Previously, the World Health Organization had listed Libya as one of the 27 countries on earth with the highest vulnerability to emerging outbreaks.
Published in its Global Health Security Index report, Libya was seen as a high-risk hotspot for the novel Coronavirus.
Thin and stretched
Confirming this, Maria Carolina, the Red Cross deputy head of sub-delegation in Tripoli said the health workers were overloaded. They also needed to be trained on how to fight the virus then provided with personal protective equipment.
But then again, the health workers were not settled on one thing. According to Maria, they would occasionally be called back to war frontlines to attend those injured in war.
As such, the health care system is thin and stretched. Local health workers are also overloaded making it difficult to respond appropriately in the event of increased COVID-19 cases.
Maria wondered if even nations with advanced health care systems and resources were feeling the pressure of the pandemic, then how would it be for such a country as Libya?
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