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Gaza's health workers struggle to contain outbreak

There is growing concern about the spread of Covid-19 in the Gaza Strip after a 61-year-old man became the second person with the disease to die in the Palestinian territory, and several new cases were discovered outside its quarantine centres.

Early on Wednesday, the Hamas-run health ministry announced that two people had tested positive at the territory’s largest hospital - forcing it to close and causing locals to panic.

Police were posted at the gates of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and all its doctors and nurses were tested.

The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the outbreak has caused alarm because of Gaza's weak healthcare system.

After five cases were confirmed in one family living in a refugee camp on Monday, a curfew was imposed across Gaza.

Previously, our correspondent adds, the relative isolation of the territory - kept under blockade by Israel and Egypt - and strict quarantine controls meant that Covid-19 had not spread among the general population.

The new infections were reported as an envoy from Qatar, which has been sending aid money to Gaza, arrived for meetings to try to ease rising tensions with Israel.

In recent nights, Israeli warplanes or tanks have struck what they say are militant targets in Gaza in retaliation for the launch of rockets and balloons with incendiary devices attached.

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