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Palestine extends state of emergency while easing lockdown measures

August 5, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Police officers tend to the streets after a curfew was announced by authorities as a measure against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Ramallah, West Bank on 23 March 2020 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday extended the state of emergency for 30 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, Wafa news agency reported.

At the same time, the Palestinian government declared easing the lockdown.

Government spokesman, Ibrahim Milhem, announced that a daily follow-up committee including all ministries and security agencies will be in charge of combating the pandemic outbreak in their assigned fields.

This will be achieved by conducting field inspections and overseeing operations through special committees, he added.

As part of the easing of lockdown measures, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and gyms are allowed to reopen at “50 per cent operational capacity” in line with the Ministry of Health’s relevant protocols.

READ: Coronavirus claims more lives across the Middle East

However, public events including weddings will remain banned, and areas severely hit by the pandemic will be isolated and monitored, stressed Milhem.

In addition, a total lockdown will be in place during weekends from Thursday 9:00pm to Sunday morning, with businesses operating during the week from 7:00am to 12:00pm.

According to Wafa news agency, among the 16,981 cases, 12,987 have been recorded in the West Bank, 78 in the Gaza Strip and 3,916 in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israel has been reporting around 1,000 new cases a day, higher than its peak during the previous wave. The government today confirmed 74,903 people have so far tested positive for the coronavirus; 546 people have died.