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‘Work 12 Hours a Day’: Libyan Medics Already Faced War, Now Covid-19 Pandemic is Surging There Too

Hamza Abdulrahman Jelwal, a supervising nurse in a protective suit, cares for a patient infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a quarantine centre, in Misrata, Libya September 7, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Al-Sahili

Hamza Abdulrahman Jelwal, a supervising nurse in a protecting swimsuit, cares for a affected person contaminated with the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) at a quarantine centre, in Misrata, Libya September 7, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Al-Sahili

The United Nations’ performing Libya envoy, Stephanie Williams, has informed the Security Council that the true variety of instances in Libya is nearly definitely far greater and that the well being system is “unable to respond”.

  • Reuters Misrata
  • Last Updated: September 13, 2020, 3:06 PM IST

As the pandemic began to rage by way of Libya final month, medics working within the war-ravaged nation’s few functioning hospitals confronted their nightmare state of affairs – a surge in instances and dwindling sources.

Hamza Abdulrahman Jelwal, 35, a supervising nurse at a quarantine centre within the coastal metropolis of Misrata, has not seen his household since Libya’s lockdown started in March. He has additionally not been paid.

He examined constructive for the coronavirus in August and was quarantined in the identical facility. As quickly as he obtained higher, he obtained up and went again to work.

“We work 12 hours a day. It is exhausting for medical staff because there is no rest,” he mentioned.

His expertise underscores the excessive stakes and rising challenges for Libyan medics because the variety of confirmed instances spikes. Figures have climbed quickly from a number of hundred final month to virtually 20,000 now.

The United Nations’ performing Libya envoy, Stephanie Williams, has informed the Security Council that the true variety of instances in Libya is nearly definitely far greater and that the well being system is “unable to respond”.

Libya has been divided since 2014 between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the west, and areas of the east and south held by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

The two rival administrations function parallel governments which have issued differing public well being orders geared toward controlling the unfold of the virus, however each closed their overseas borders early within the disaster.

SHORTFALLS AND DELAYS

Despite that measure, an outbreak started in July within the southern desert metropolis of Sebha, attributed by some native folks to the return of Libyans flown residence after being stranded overseas.

The virus then unfold into the primary city centres within the coastal cities of Tripoli and Misrata on the GNA facet and Benghazi, managed by Haftar.

The quarantine centre the place Jelwal works, within the Gharara district, had been a personal clinic however was taken over for the disaster by the state-operated Misrata Medical Centre.

Administrative points closed it for many of a month early this summer season, he mentioned, contributing to the accelerating variety of instances as folks couldn’t are available to quarantine.

That was when workers began to stop as a result of that they had not been paid, he mentioned. There are few ventilators and little different gear. State funding, recurrently hit by shortfalls and delays, has been significantly disrupted this yr due to a blockade on oil exports by the LNA and its allies.

Jelwal was not the one member of workers to fall in poor health as they tried to deal with the onslaught of latest instances.

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A colleague, Aisha Milad Belhassna, one other nurse on the centre additionally caught the illness.

“Suddenly the air starts to decrease until you reach the point where you feel like you are losing your life,” she mentioned.


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