Palestine imposes curfew, bans travel as COVID-19 cases soar

Palestinians wearing protective face masks sit in the Old City of the West Bank town of Hebron amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic crisis, on July 10, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 12 July 2020

Palestine imposes curfew, bans travel as COVID-19 cases soar

  • Palestinian Authority imposes night-time, weekend curfew for 14 days
  • Travel will be prohibited daily from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 am in all governorates

RIYADH: The Palestinian Authority on Sunday introduced a curfew across the occupied West Bank and heavily restricted travel as COVID-19 cases continued to rise.
Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus have been “fully closed” for four days and travel between all governorates banned for two weeks.
The curfew will be imposed from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. for two weeks “to complete the virus incubation cycle,” Ibrahim Melhem, a government spokesman, said. 
Under the measures, all cities, villages and refugee camps where COVID-19 cases are reported will be locked down.
More than 7,000 people have had the disease diagnosed and 37 have died from it in the Palestinian territories. The health ministry announced on Sunday 349 new cases, almost half of which were in the Hebron area.
“We face a real health threat that requires solidarity and synergy between the national whole, individuals and groups, to reduce the spread of the epidemic, which is on an upward path with the number of injured and deaths,” Melhem said.
Bakeries and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open but “it is strictly forbidden to hold weddings, funerals gatherings, festivals or any other gatherings,” he added. 
The government also ordered the closure of all hairdressers, beauty salons and sports clubs and said that summer camps are strictly prohibited this year.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.