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Palestine divided over coronavirus counter-measures

March 7, 2020 at 12:57 pm

People wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus (Covid-19) in Jerusalem on 6 March 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced a state of emergency for 30 days in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as a counter-measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Following Abbas’s announcement, PA Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh broadcast the closure of all of the government institutions in both parts of the country.

However, the government in Gaza, run by Abbas’s rival movement Hamas, confirmed that there was no need for such measures, as there have been no coronavirus cases found in the coastal enclave.

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Following this stance, the universities and various institutions run by Fatah, and people loyal to Abbas, affirmed their commitment to the announcement and closed their institutions for 30 days.

The Education Ministry in Gaza announced a work suspension for two days, while the Islamic University and the University College of Applied Sciences suspended work until further notice. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) also announced work suspension on Saturday.