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Doctors in northwest Syria brace for ‘devastating’ coronavirus

Medical personnel in Syria contacted by Al-Monitor worry that Idlib's crippled health infrastructure will not be able to handle a coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the Syrian Violet NGO set up triage tents for suspected coronavirus patients outside the Ibn Sina Hospital in Syria's northwestern Idlib city on March 19, 2020. - Syrian authorities on March 13 announced measures aimed at preventing coronavirus from reaching the war-torn country, including school closures and a ban on smoking shisha in cafes, state media reported. (Photo by Abdulaziz KETAZ / AFP) (Photo by ABDULAZIZ KETAZ/AFP via Getty Images)
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In rebel-held northwest Syria, where a year of sustained attacks on hospitals has crippled the health care infrastructure, doctors warn that a looming coronavirus outbreak would be devastating to the large numbers of Syrians living in makeshift homes and squalid, overcrowded camps along the Turkish border. 

Although no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, health care workers reached by Al-Monitor on WhatsApp are gearing up for what they say is a likely catastrophe in war-torn Idlib province, the last swath of the country still in the hands of the opposition after nine years of war. 

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