GAZA CITY, Palestine

At least 116 cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the health Ministry announced Friday, bringing the tally to 697.

According to a ministry statement, the death toll in the coastal enclave stood at five, while 82 patients have so far recovered.

The ministry vowed to double its efforts to contain the outbreak in Gaza, stressing that there is no room for “complacency and recklessness.”

Mai al-Kailah, the Palestinian health minister, arrived in Gaza on Friday for her first visit since assuming the charge in April 2019 under Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government.

According to the ministry, Al-Kailah is accompanied by a government delegation that includes five ministers to assess the pandemic situation in Gaza.

On Thursday, Salama Maarouf, the head of the Government Media and Information Center in Gaza, warned that coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip had entered a “dangerous curve.”

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has imposed a total lockdown across the Strip since last August 24, after the first cases of the virus were detected in the general population.

The Palestinian government based in Ramallah has not sent any ministers to Gaza since its formation as internal divisions between Fatah and Hamas continue following the latter’s victory in the 2006 legislative elections.

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