On Tuesday 1st September, Forward Thinking convened an online meeting between Dr Basem Naim, former Minister of Health and current Head of the Council on International Relations in Gaza, and Dr Abdelateef Alhaj, Director General of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

An urgent briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza was provided to diplomats, officals and parliamentarians. For months Gaza has prevented community transmission of Covid-19. However, MOH officials reported that the virus has now spread into the community and outside existing quarantine centres. There is a critical shortage of medical supplies, equipment and staff necessary to cope with the spread of the virus in Gaza. Social distancing and preventative measures are also impossible because of Gaza’s high population density. 

The importance of urgent collaboration between Gaza, regional actors and international organisations was stressed saying that political obstacles must not be allowed to get in the way of vital humanitarian support.