The Gaza Strip recorded its highest-ever daily toll of coronavirus deaths, authorities said Sunday, as the Israeli-blockaded territory struggles with a dearth of vaccines.
The Palestinian enclave, hemmed in by a large concrete barrier, the Egyptian border and the Mediterranean Sea, had been largely spared by the COVID-19 illness for much of last year.
But in August, cases were recorded in its densely-populated refugee camps. They have sky-rocketed in recent weeks, forcing Hamas to impose a curfew and other health measures.
On Sunday, the Strip’s health ministry announced “23 deaths in the past 24 hours”, taking its toll to 761 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s the largest number of deaths” in one day, said Mutassim Salah, a senior health official, adding that 305 people were hospitalized with the disease.
Authorities have so far only received 80,000 vaccine doses for the population of some two million people.
Gaza authorities last Tuesday, at the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, announced a new series of anti-coronavirus measures including a ban on weddings and on driving after 7 pm.