Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warns the country may face a “real catastrophe” if coronavirus cases spike there and overwhelm health services.

Syrian state-run news reports that Assad said the current low numbers of cases does not mean “we have gone out of the circle of danger.”

These small figures could suddenly spike in a few days or few weeks and we would face a real catastrophe that can overwhelm our health systems,” Assad said.

He praised his country’s efforts to combat the pandemic.

“The response and awareness of citizens, in addition to the swift actions of the state, played a main role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus,” Assad said.

Today, the country’s health ministry reported 44 confirmed cases and three deaths.