The World Health Organization is “alarmed” by the rapid spread of Covid-19 in Libya, the organization said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the past two weeks alone, the number of confirmed cases in the country has more than doubled, the statement said — and since there are acute shortages of tests and laboratory capacity, the real number of cases is likely much higher.
Libya has confirmed nearly 12,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 200 deaths, according to the latest data available from Johns Hopkins University.
Worsening the problem is the fact that years of conflict in the region have damaged Libya’s healthcare system; about half of all primary health care facilities are closed, the WHO statement said.
“We are alarmed at the rapid spread of the virus in the country,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Libya, in the statement.
“We are in a vicious cycle. The virus is spreading because infected people and their contacts are lost, preventing follow up. The ever greater numbers of infected patients are placing a huge strain on the health system, which is already unable to cope with normal workloads.”
WHO added that it’s working with Libyan authorities and other international organizations like UNICEF to respond to the crisis, launch public awareness campaigns, and stepping up testing efforts.