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Norway seeks more aid from donors to help Palestinians fight coronavirus

Published: Updated:

Norway, which chairs the international donor group for Palestine, on Friday called for more aid to support the territory’s struggling economy as it tackles the coronavirus crisis.

So far, only 12 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed in the Gaza Strip, an impoverished Palestinian territory under an Israeli blockade with just below two million inhabitants.

Experts fear that this figure may be much lower than the actual number, as testing capacity remains limited.

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They warn that an uncontrolled spread would be disastrous in the densely populated area which has more than 5,400 inhabitants per square kilometer and inadequate health infrastructure.

In an appeal to other donor nations, Norway said the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates international aid to Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority, had to cancel a meeting in Brussels earlier in the week for coronavirus.

“A significant drop in revenues to the Palestinian Authority as a result of the coronavirus crisis will have dramatic consequences for the Palestinian economy and for living conditions in Palestine,” Norway's foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement.

“I am particularly concerned about the possible spread of the coronavirus in Gaza and in the Palestine refugee camps. The international community must provide support to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on an already vulnerable population,” she added.