GNA confirms first coronavirus case in Libya

Alwasat - Cairo Wed 25 Mar 2020, 12:37 AM
alwasat radio

Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country on Tuesday. 

The National Centre for Disease Control, which operates in areas controlled by both major sides in the Libyan conflict, gave no further details in its statement on the coronavirus case. However, doctors said the patient was in a hospital in Tripoli. 

Both the GNA  in Tripoli, in the west, and the Interim Government in Benghazi have imposed lockdowns, stopped foreign travel and promised resources for the health service. 

The Libyan National Army (LNA) has been trying to capture Tripoli since last year. Despite a ceasefire call by the United Nations last week to allow all sides to focus on preparing for the pandemic, fighting has continued, with heavy shelling and clashes on Tuesday. 

“This is a health system that was close to collapse before you get the coronavirus,” said Elizabeth Hoff, head of mission for the World Health Organisation in Libya. 

Equipment for testing is limited, there is very little protective gear and there is a severe shortage of medical workers, particularly in rural areas, Hoff said.

“There is a national plan, but funding has not yet been allocated for implementation,” she said. 

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