Serhat – Rojava
As several countries have decided to re-apply preventative and protective measures to face the anticipated ‘second wave’ of COVID-19, Rojava’s self-administration declared a new general quarantine since the beginning of August.
It was estimated two weeks ago that around 230 to 250 cases of infected people were confirmed, almost half of them being in Qamişlo. These were just the ‘identified’ cases, so it is expected that the real numbers will be much higher.
The lockdown has affected daily life in numerous ways. Most shops are closed (although food supplies and pharmacies are exempt from the mandatory lockdown closures).
Road traffic is unusually low and people have generally stayed at home. The health prevention services are now focusing on identifying people infected with COVID-19 and placing them in quarantine to stop the spread of the virus as much as possible.
Despite these measures, the virus seems to keep spreading. Attempts have been made to contain the spread of the virus via restrictions put in place at the border crossing at Semalka. People have also generally become more safety-conscious, using gloves and face masks regularly.
Every day in Qamişlo, the largest city of Rojava, the ambulances from Heyva Sora Kurd (the Kurdish Red Crescent) go through the city and surrounding neighbourhoods and villages in order to assist with health control strategies.
The military hospital of Hesseke has even been requisitioned especially to provide medical support for patients infected by COVID-19.
Self-defense personnel remain on alert as the military threat from Turkey and its proxies, the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA), remains a very real one.
To help us better understand how Rojava’s self-administration is coping with the situation, we spoke to Dr Ciwan Mustafa, co-chair of the Health Department in northern and eastern Syria.