GAZA STRIP (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime has stopped shipment of coronavirus vaccines that are intended for front-line medical workers from entering the besieged Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila said in a statement on Monday that the occupying regime bore "full responsibility” for blocking the shipment acquired by Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has said it will share its vaccine supply with Gaza, besieged by the Zionist regime since 2007. The enclave, which is home to more than two million Palestinians, has yet to receive any vaccines. The blockade has caused a sharp decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the strip.
Authorities in the coastal enclave have reported more than 53,000 infections and at least 537 deaths since the start of the pandemic. About 115,000 coronavirus cases have also been reported in the West Bank, including nearly 1,400 deaths.
The regime has faced international calls to share its stocks as an occupying power with Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
International rights groups and the UN have urged the Zionist regime, which began its coronavirus inoculation drive on December 19, to guarantee coronavirus vaccine doses for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.
The ban on the delivery comes as the regime is mulling linking the transfer of the vaccine doses to Gaza to the release of the remains of two Zionist troops who were killed in the 2014 Israeli war on the blockaded enclave and two Zionist captives held in Gaza since then.
The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that a number of officials told the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee that "No vaccines have been transferred to Gaza” to date.
According to the report, Col. Eyal Zeevi, who heads the operations department for the Office of the COGAT, an Israeli military unit, said the transfer of 1,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccines, which had been delivered to the PA earlier this month, had been delayed pending the regime’s decision on Gaza policy.
The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement said the Zionist captives held in Gaza since 2014 will not be released until a "real” agreement is reached on exchanging prisoners.