No cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been registered in Syria yet, but the country is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure measures are in place to prevent the virus from spreading, Deputy Health Minister Ahmad Khleifawi told Sputnik on Thursday
DAMASCUS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 27th February, 2020) No cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been registered in Syria yet, but the country is coordinating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure measures are in place to prevent the virus from spreading, Deputy Health Minister Ahmad Khleifawi told Sputnik on Thursday.
"The hospitals are prepared, and one health ministry location is being allocated for quarantine, should any case be detected. No cases have been registered yet," Khleifawi said.
The lawmaker added that Syrian authorities had taken the necessary measures to deal with COVID-19 at all levels, "staring from the border crossings, where readiness was maintained by workers in the medical centers."
Khleifawi said that if anyone exhibited symptoms of the disease, including high fever or pneumonia-like illness, they would be monitored during the 14-day incubation period. Those arriving from high-risk areas will be placed under quarantine for two weeks.
"These procedures are sufficient to determine whether a person has a pneumonia or not, but they [procedures] cannot confirm a virus infection case, because the virus has a 14-day incubation period. An individual can be a virus carrier for 14 days without any symptoms," the lawmaker added.
He said that anyone arriving to the country and suspected of being infected or having symptoms of pneumonia were to fill out special forms at the border to indicate their places of residence and telephone numbers.
"They are contacted on a daily basis, and [people] with pneumonia symptoms or any other specific disease are monitored at their place of residence every day by the health centers located there," Khleifawi said.
Khleifawi added that all actions were carried out according to internationally approved standards, and that the situation on the ground was being monitored in coordination with the WHO.
"In coordination with the World Health Organization, we now have a specialized laboratory for detecting the coronavirus case," Khleifawi said, adding that there was a joint work and continuous communication between Iraq and China, at all levels, to monitor the medical situation day by day.
As of Thursday, over 82,000 people worldwide have contracted COVID-19, of whom 2,800 have died and more than 33,000 have recovered.