Photo Credit: TPS
Doctors and staff protest at Jerusalem's Augusta Victoria hospital. Oct. 28, 2019

Medical officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) are warning of a severe lack of respiratory machines for the treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients while Israel has transferred several machines to Arab hospitals in eastern Jerusalem.

The PA’s Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein A-Sheikh announced Sunday that an effort is being made worldwide to purchase Corona testing kits, but the main problem facing the PA is the lack of respiratory machinery, a scarcity that pervades many countries around the world.

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The head of the Physicians Association in the PA, Dr. Shuki Tsaba, told the media that the lack of respiratory equipment is one of the serious problems facing the Authority. He said that “only 120 devices are available for the Palestinian health service.”

However, various sources indicate that government hospitals have 100 devices and a similar number exist in private hospitals. The Authority is now working to purchase at least another 100 respirators.

In the Gaza Strip, there are less than 100 respirators, of which 20 are for children, and only 15-20 are devices for adults that work. A representative of the World Health Organization in the Gaza Strip said a few days ago that the Strip needed 100 devices immediately.

A spokeswoman for the health system in the Gaza Strip called on countries to raise $23 million as an emergency budget for the purchase of respirators and medical equipment.

TPS has learned that the Israeli Ministry of Health has delivered respirators to eastern Jerusalem hospitals, Al-Makassed and St. Joseph.

“There is direct, daily contact with the Israeli Ministry of Health for the fight against Corona,” a source at Al-Makassaed told TPS.

He said that Israel provided a number of respirators and there are currently 25 respirators in eastern Jerusalem hospitals, serving Arabs from the entire area.

“The global shortage of such machines is a very significant challenge and there is a race for technological solutions and developments,” he said.

The Augusta Victoria Hospital on Mount Scopus does not currently treat Corona patients but has been preparing for such a possibility.

The PA has registered 106 cases of Coronavirus, as of Sunday, including one death.

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