Syria: Zeina Shahla talks about her experience covering COVID-19

Syria
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By The Coalition for Women in Journalism

Syria-based journalist Zeina Shahla is covering COVID-19 from Damascus while in self-quarantine. She has been working as a freelance journalist for the last three years with a focus on social and humanitarian issues. Zeina is currently reporting for Raseef22 and BBC Arabic. She recently reported about the impact of the coronavirus on those with hearing impairment. We spoke with Zeina for an in-depth view of how she has been covering the pandemic in Syria, particularly since the country has been facing numerous challenges on various fronts.

Zeina said that she focuses more on the impact of coronavirus, as it is not as widespread inside Syria as yet.

“My experience while covering this issue is mostly related to the side effects of this disease, and how the preventive actions are affecting the daily life of Syrian people, who are exhausted after nine years of brutal war that had great negative impacts on all life aspects inside the country, especially on the economic level,” Zeina said.

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In terms of dealing with excess information regarding the virus, Zeina said that the Syrian ministry of health has reported only five confirmed cases so far. However, it has apparently taken serious measures to prevent the dissemination of the virus in the country, including the closure of almost all schools, universities, public places, and activities; as well as the prohibition of all types of gatherings, and a night curfew for 12 hours.

In terms of ensuring her safety, Zeina said that she wears a mask and gloves. She also maintains distance when going out on the streets and in public spaces for interviews. 

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