DAMASCUS, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The first COVID-19 case was reported in Syria's major rebel-held Idlib province Friday, as the Syrian government reported new cases in government-held areas, according to a war monitor and state media.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the first case was officially reported in areas controlled by the rebel groups, mainly the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, in Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in northwestern Syria.
The patient is a doctor who had returned from Turkey a few days ago, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the observatory.
Unfortunately, he added, the doctor had contacted tens of people as a result of his work at the Bab al-Hawa hospital.
Now, the rebels have applied preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing masks, Abdul-Rahman said.
Meanwhile, the head of the observatory said if the virus continues spreading in that region, the situation will be "tragic," particularly among the displaced people in displacement camps amid lack of medical teams and humanitarian aid.
While this is the first case in the Idlib region near Turkey, the UN recorded six cases in Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, including one death.
In the government-controlled areas, the Syrian Health Ministry said Friday that 22 new cases were recorded on Friday, bringing the overall number of infections to 394, including 16 deaths.
The first case was reported in government-controlled areas in March.
The government has taken several measures to prevent the spread of the virus such as curfew and shutting down businesses.
However, with the tough economic situation and the new sanctions imposed on the country, the government eased the measures but kept on urging people to adhere to self-safety measures.
The government also tried to benefit from the experiences of China to face the pandemic.
China has offered help to Syria to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 15, China delivered the first batch of medical aid, including 2,016 COVID-19 test kits, to Syria.
On April 23, a video conference was held between Chinese and Syrian medical experts for sharing the experience in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 4 and June 24, Syria received another two batches of medical supplies donated by China, including test kits, protective suits, masks, goggles, and infrared thermometers. Enditem