Gaza restaurants to reopen as lockdown eases

A Palestinian vendor makes Ramadan traditional sweets during Ramadan, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease. (REUTERS)
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Updated 27 April 2020

Gaza restaurants to reopen as lockdown eases

  • The Gaza strip has recorded just 17 cases of coronavirus virus
  • Reopening of restaurants would ease economic burden of lockdown on Gaza, which has languished under an Israeli blockade for 13 years

Gaza City: Restaurants in Gaza were to be allowed to reopen from Monday, the economy ministry in the Hamas-run enclave announced, following pleas from restaurant owners to ease economic suffering.
“It was decided to allow restaurants and cafes in the (Gaza) Strip to reopen their doors to customers starting from today, the ministry said in a statement.
Under the decision based on health ministry recommendations, restaurants must continue to observe social distancing rules, it said.
Since the middle of March, the Hamas government has imposed strict measures to avoid a widespread outbreak of COVID-19.
Schools, universities, mosques and restaurants have been closed.
So far Gaza has recorded only 17 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, all Palestinians returning from outside the Gaza Strip.
Those who contracted the virus have been placed in isolation immediately upon their return.
There are no confirmed cases among Palestinians who stayed inside Gaza, according to Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled the coastal enclave since 2007.
Gaza’s population is overwhelmingly Muslim and most people are observing the holy month of Ramadan, including fasting from sunrise to sunset before eating large meals with their families.
Salah Abu Haseera, head of the Committee for Restaurants, Hotels and Touristic Services in Gaza, told AFP the ministry’s decision “came after an appeal to open restaurants to avoid further losses and a serious recession.”
Restaurants reopening could allow some 2,500 people to return to work, he said.
Gaza, blockaded by Israel for 13 years, suffers from poverty rates close to 50 percent.
Israel says the measures are necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.
In the West Bank, the largest part of the Palestinian territories but controlled by a rival government, restaurants remain closed.


LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

Updated 53 min 32 sec ago

LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

DUBAI: Efforts to return life gradually back to some kind of normality in parts of the Middle East continue, as governments get ready to reopen borders and airlines take bookings for flights. 
Tunisia said it will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27 in the hope of rescuing its tourism industry as the coronavirus pandemic comes under control.
Emirates airline also announced that it was taking bookings for flights from Dubai to 12 Arab countries from the start of July. Emirates began operating scheduled flight services to nine destinations around the world from May 21, including London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s commercial complexes, hotels, cafes and museums reopened their doors to customers on Monday after closing for two-and-a-half months. 

June 2, Tuesday (GMT Times)

10:24 - Kuwait has confirmed 887 coronavirus cases and the recovery of 50 percent of total infected people.

10:22 - UAE has recorded 596 coronavirus cases and 388 recoveries.

09:43 - New reported cases of coronavirus are steadily declining in Western Europe, but not in Russia and Eastern Europe: World Health Organization spokeswoman said.

09:34 - Formula One has unveiled an eight-race schedule in Europe from July 5 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

09:32 - Iran has reported 64 coronavirus deaths, 3,117 cases, raising total infected people to 157,562 with 7,942 fatalities.

09:20 - The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain is close to 50,000, Reuters reported.

09:07 – Hong Kong will extend restrictions on foreign visitors by another three months and an eight-person limit on group gatherings by two weeks, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.
Both measures were due to expire later in June.
Travellers to Hong Kong need to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

08:45 – 12,739 people died from coronavirus in England and Wales as of May 22, the Office for National Statistics said.

08:16 – Senegal has postponed the restart of schools until further notice after several teachers tested positive for the new coronavirus, the education ministry said late on Monday.

07:51 – Russia has confirmed 8,863 coronavirus cases and 182 deaths in the past 24 hours.

07:02 – A Wuhan doctor who worked with coronavirus whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the virus last week, state media reported Tuesday, becoming China's first COVID-19 fatality in weeks.
07:00 Paris gets some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopen Tuesday.
06:51 – The global coronavirus death toll has topped 375,000, according to AFP tally.

06:45 – The first Rohingya refugee died from coronavirus in Bangladesh, an official said.

05:59Egypt has sanitized prisons and carried out tests on prisoners across the country after banning visits to help curb the spread of coronavirus, local daily Egypt Today reported.

05:50 – A cluster of nine coronavirus cases raised concerns in Hong Kong over renewed local transmission in a city that has been one of the most successful in keeping the pandemic under control. 

05:18 – The United States on Monday recorded 743 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, bringing its total to 105,099 since the global pandemic began.