Palestinian Authority Declares Emergency over COVID-19

Several public and educational facilities were suspended following the cases of COVID019 in Bethlehem.

Palestinian police in Bethlehem on guard outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Reuters)

ACTNews, JERUSALEM, GAZA - The Palestinian authority declared a state of emergency for a month Gaza and Jerusalem after reported cases of COVID-19 in Bethlehem. A number of universities and government institutions were closed for 30 days following the announcement, as reported by the Middle East Monitor, Saturday (7/3).

Among the institutions that are temporarily suspended is the Palestinian Ministry of Education, which is suspended for two days, while the Islamic University and the University College of Applied Sciences suspended work until further notice. The United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) also announced work suspension on Saturday.

On Saturday (3/7), WAFA Palestinian News Agency reported that the Palestinian ministry of health said that the number of people who have been infected with the Coronavirus has risen to 19 in the Bethlehem district, in the southern West Bank. Three people who came in contact with the infected cases at a hotel in Bethlehem were tested positive and placed in quarantine, said the ministry. The tests were carried out until Saturday (7/3) on 500 people suspected of contracting the disease, but all turned out negative.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health also stated that 32 people remained quarantined at a Hotel in Bethlehem, the same hotel where confirmed 16 coronavirus cases are kept. Fifteen tourists were also infected at a different hotel.

The city of Bethlehem has been temporarily under lockdown since the first case of Covid-19. Local authorities also announced the status of emergency response. Inter-city movements are limited to those deemed extremely necessary, and all schools and public facilities are closed temporarily, as reported by Al Jazeera. []