New curbs in West Bank as first Gaza virus cases confirmed

This picture taken on March 22, 2020 shows a view of vehicles crowding in a street in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, as shoppers prepare to stock up ahead of a "mandatory quarantine" that was announced by the Palestinian Authority to take effect from later in the evening as part of measures against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 23 March 2020

New curbs in West Bank as first Gaza virus cases confirmed

  • An Israeli blockade, supported by Egypt, has restricted cross-border movement for years, amid security concerns following the militant Hamas movement’s takeover of Gaza in 2007

GAZA: The densely populated Gaza Strip reported its first coronavirus cases, and stay-at-home orders were announced in the occupied West Bank on Sunday as Palestinian health officials tried to limit contagion.
Two Palestinian men, one aged 79 and the other 63, tested positive after returning from Pakistan via Egypt late on Sunday.
Officials said the two patients, initially reported by authorities in Gaza to be in their 30s, were in stable condition in a quarantine area in the border town of Rafah.
“Thank God, the circle of contact wasn’t big,” said Salama Marouf, chairman of the Gaza government media office.
All those who had been in contact with the two men had also been quarantined, he said.
Schools, public markets and event halls have all been shut in Gaza over the past two weeks.
Religious authorities in Gaza and the West Bank urged people to pray at home, rather than in mosques, and not to hold traditional mourning gatherings at relatives’ homes in the event of fatalities.
The Palestinian Health Ministry listed 59 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank, while Israel had 945 confirmed cases and one death.
Gaza’s 375 sq km are home to around 2 million Palestinians. Health experts say infection could spread fast among people living so close together, especially as medical supplies are scarce.

BACKGROUND

The Palestinian Health Ministry listed 59 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank, while Israel had 945 confirmed cases and one death.

An Israeli blockade, supported by Egypt, has restricted cross-border movement for years, amid security concerns following the militant Hamas movement’s takeover of Gaza in 2007.
In the West Bank, the Palestinian government ordered people to stay home for two weeks to try to slow the spread of the virus.
Medical personnel, pharmacists, grocers and bakers were exempted. A Palestinian official said people would be allowed to shop for food.
On Saturday, Israeli authorities said they were closing borders with Gaza and the West Bank to commercial traffic, though some patients and humanitarian staff could cross.
People entering Gaza via Rafah or Israel’s Erez crossing since March 15 have been quarantined at designated facilities, the World Health Organization said, putting the number of those in isolation at 1,287. Another 2,017 are in home quarantine.
In the West Bank, more than 9,900 people were in quarantine at home or in other facilities.


LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

Updated 6 min 13 sec ago

LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia announced it was easing the 24-hour lockdown brought into force during Eid – except in Makkah.
The initial timings will be from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m., but May 31, the curfew will run from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. The Kingdom plans to remove all curfews by June 21.
Meanwhile, Dubai will allow free movement and business activity to restart during the day from Wednesday. The new timing of the curfew will be from 11.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., the Dubai Media Office said in a press release.
May 26, 2020, Wednesday (All times in GMT)

07:04 – A cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, hired a robot barista to help with social distancing.

05:56 – The WHO suspended trials of the drug that Donald Trump has promoted as a coronavirus defence, fuelling concerns about the US president's handling of the pandemic that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.
04:52 – South American carrier LATAM Airlines says it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it grapples with the sharp downturn in air travel sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Santiago, Chile-based LATAM Airlines Group S.A. said Tuesday that it and its affiliated companies launched the reorganization effort in the United States.
04:49 – Singapore’s embattled economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent this year, which would be the county’s worst reading since its independence, with the government saying Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic had throttled the key export sector.
The city-state is seen as a bellwether of the global economy and the historic contraction highlights the extreme pain being wrought on countries by the killer disease.
04:44 – Thailand on Tuesday reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing its total to 3,045 confirmed cases and 57 fatalities.