WASHINGTON

Turkey is facilitating the supply of medical aid to northwestern Syria to cope with a potential outbreak of the novel coronavirus, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock told the Security Council on Wednesday.  

Lowcock said the need to prepare for the potential arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in the region makes efforts to scale up all the more urgent, adding items such as hygiene kits and tents for isolation units are being prioritized for cross-border transshipment.

“Turkey is facilitating this scale-up, notwithstanding its own battle with the virus,” he said.

“Humanitarian organizations have put in place strict measures to comply with Turkish regulations and to minimize risks of transmission of the virus at trans-shipment hubs or in other ways.”

In his briefing to the world body, he said cross-border aid to relieve the humanitarian situation in the northwest is operating at “record levels.”

In March, 1,486 trucks crossed the border from Turkey under the UN program. In April, more than 1,100 trucks have been dispatched, said Lowcock.

According to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University, Syria has recorded 43 coronavirus cases and three deaths so far. But concerns remain high as parts of country are war-hit and lack proper health gear.

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