Four West Bank cities in occupied Palestine will enter a week-long lockdown from Thursday to help curb the spread of Covid-19, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister announced yesterday.
"The governorates of Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Tulkarem will be completely closed from the evening of Thursday, 10 December for a period of seven days," explained Mohammad Shtayyeh. All shops will be closed except for pharmacies and grocery stores and travel will be prohibited between all eleven West Bank cities.
The move comes after a weekend and evening curfew was imposed across the occupied West Bank in late November to fight a "worrying spread" of the virus.
Around 40,000 Palestinians are currently in quarantine, and 55 West Bank schools have already been closed following an increase in the number of coronavirus infections among students and teachers, added Shtayyeh.
According to Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila, 19 people have died of coronavirus in Palestine in the past 24 hours, with 1,595 new cases recorded in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. There are currently 76 coronavirus patients hospitalised and in a serious condition; 18 are on ventilators.
Meanwhile, almost 20,000 coronavirus test kits have been sent to the Gaza Strip by the World Health Organisation (WHO) today. The health ministry called yesterday for urgent action "to provide the necessary equipment" to screen the population for Covid-19.
In the besieged territory, nearly 25,600 infections have been registered officially, with 150 deaths. The health authorities are warning that the medical sector in Gaza — where nearly 75 per cent of the two million Palestinian residents are refugees – is struggling to contain the pandemic. Supplies of essential drugs and medicines, as well as medical disposables, are dangerously low.