New York [US], March 30 (ANI/Sputnik): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that another coronavirus wave is expected to hit war-torn Syria as community transmission of the virus is likely to continue in 2021.
"The pandemic has put further strains on the health sector. And another COVID-19 wave lies in wait," Guterres said during his briefing to the UN General Assembly on the situation in the country.
"Although COVAX vaccinations are planned to begin across Syria in the coming weeks, distribution of these initial vaccines will continue through 2021. As a result, community transmission of COVID-19 is anticipated to continue in the present year," he said.
The most vulnerable people, particularly those living in densely populated refugee camps, will suffer the most, Guterres said.
Additionally, he said, thousands of cases in Syria go unconfirmed because of the "dangerously low" testing rates and only 58 percent of the country's hospitals being fully functional.
Guterres also noted that in the coming weeks, the COVAX facility will deliver the first batch of one million vaccine doses, covering around 3 percent of Syria's population. Some 100,000 doses of those will be delivered to northeast Syria, and 224,000 are allocated for the northwest.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Syria has so far reported 18,638 coronavirus cases, with 1,247 related deaths. (ANI/Sputnik)