Source: Bethlehem (Palestinian territories) – France Press
According to the Palestinian authorities, who announced Thursday a 30-day state of emergency, seven people were infected with the new virus of Corona virus in the West Bank, shortly after the announcement of the closure of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the prevention of tourists from entering for a period of two weeks.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared Thursday evening a state of emergency in the Palestinian territories for 30 days in the face of the virus, according to the Palestinian News Agency, “Wafa”.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayeh said on television that schools and educational institutions will be closed, noting that the movement between the governorates will be in cases of extreme necessity.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that it had recorded seven infections in Koruna in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, the first Palestinian cases since the virus began spreading.
“We confirmed that 7 Palestinian citizens were infected with the Corona virus in Bethlehem,” Health Minister Mai Kaila said at a press conference. “They are now being treated in quarantine.”
“Samples belonging to twenty people were sent to medical laboratories, eight cases were suspected, and seven of them were positive,” she added.
“There is a treatment and stone center in Jericho, which is equipped with a laboratory and four intensive care rooms (…) and plans have been made to tackle the virus,” Kila said.
All injuries were recorded at a hotel in the city, which in late February had received Greek tourists, one of whom was infected with the virus, after the group left the Palestinian territories.
Tourist entry ban
The Palestinians had announced a series of preventive measures due to concerns about the virus, including the closure of a number of religious facilities and educational institutions for various times.
The Church of the Nativity in the city was closed and sprayed with antiseptics.
“The church will be sprayed with antiseptics and closed for 14 days,” Father Asbed Palian of the Armenian Church told AFP.
And Minister of Tourism Rola announced that he would prohibit tourists from entering the occupied West Bank.
“We decided to prevent the entry of tourists for a period of 14 days and to prevent all hotels in all cities from receiving foreigners,” said Maayah.
The ministry asked tourism operators, tourism agencies and hotel managers to “not receive tourist groups in all hotels in Palestine from the sixth to the twenty of March.”
In Jerusalem, the Islamic Endowments Department staff started a comprehensive clean-up of the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards and internal chapels.
The mosque director, Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, said that the Friday sermon will be “brief (…) and the campus will be open after all necessary measures have been taken and the covered mosques have been sterilized.”
Also, a series of events and activities in the Palestinian territories, including the International Palestine Marathon that was scheduled for the end of this month, were canceled.