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First 1,000 Coronavirus Vaccines will enter Gaza this Wednesday

A first batch of 1,000 vaccines against the coronavirus donated by Russia will enter the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Israeli authorities told AFP, after having blocked the delivery of the drug to this Palestinian territory.

“This Wednesday morning 1,000 Sputnik V vaccines donated by Russia were transferred by the Palestinian Authority (in the West Bank) to the Gaza Strip after having obtained authorization,” explained the Cogat, the Israeli body in charge of the civil operations in the Palestinian territories.

“The vaccines are on their way to the Erez crossing,” the border crossing between the Strip and Israel.

The Gaza Strip, home to some two million Palestinians, has been the subject of an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

The Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah in the West Bank, on Monday accused Israel of preventing the entry of these vaccines into Gaza. The Cogat responded that the Palestinian request was “under study and awaiting a political decision.”

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, a territory that is physically separated from the West Bank, denounced a “violation” of international law.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 53,700 infections and 538 deaths have been registered in Gaza, and health authorities consider that infections are decreasing.

In the West Bank, the Ministry of Health recorded more than 115,700 cases and 1,400 deaths.

In February, the Palestinian Authority began vaccinating health workers in the West Bank after receiving 2,000 doses from Israel. He also received 10,000 Sputnik V vaccines and indicated his intention to share them with Gaza.

In the days to come, Palestinians will also receive 50,000 doses thanks to the Covax mechanism, created by the World Health Organization (WHO) so that countries with fewer resources can also receive vaccines.

Ben Oakley
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