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PA to ease lockdown as GDP looks set to fall by 7%

April 21, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Palestinian citizens wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus (COVID-19) at public places in Bethlehem, West Bank on 5 March, 2020 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Authority has decided to ease some of the restrictions introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, as its economy is predicted to fall by up to seven per cent.

Although the initial prediction was for a fall of 2.5 per cent this year, according to the World Bank if the coronavirus outbreak is not controlled soon, its impact on consumption could be severe and the economy could contract further.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced that manufacturing will be allowed to resume in all governorates for export purposes.

However, only half of the normal staff should be working at any one time, and appropriate health and safety precautions must be followed.

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Furthermore, Shtayyeh banned the movement of Palestinian Arab workers from their jobs in Israel to their homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

This ban will be in effect until coronavirus testing is arranged in coordination with the Israeli government.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas criticised the Israeli authorities for failing to address the issue of the tens of thousands of Palestinian workers in Israel, who were the source of many of the confirmed coronavirus cases following their return to the West Bank, reported Wafa. Abbas added a word of caution: “Unfortunately, there is no specific end date for this crisis.”