GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip began on March 18 placing patients with respiratory diseases in Gaza schools that the UNRWA converted into medical clinics. This followed its March 16 decision not to receive such patients in its medical clinics as a preventive measure to ensure the safety of other patients and families and to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The UNRWA stressed that all schools will be sterilized before classes resume and its schools will not turn into quarantine centers for those returning to the Gaza Strip from the Rafah or Erez crossings.
Meanwhile, the Hamas-run Ministry of Health began on March 15 turning two schools in the southern city of Rafah into quarantine centers where those entering Gaza are placed as a precautionary measure against spreading the coronavirus. Although such a measure has angered citizens, the ministry said it had no other choice and carried on with equipping other schools as well. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, said there are 15 schools serving as quarantine centers in the Gaza Strip, and the ministry is equipping more schools for those arriving into Gaza.