Palestinian Schools in West Bank to Close for 10 Days Over COVID Wave

With the West Bank seeing a surge in cases, the Palestinian health minister announces closure of schools but says full lockdown not being considered

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinians shop in Ramallah, Thursday.
Palestinians shop in Ramallah, Thursday.Credit: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Schools in the West Bank will close for 10 days because of rising coronavirus cases, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said Saturday.

Classes will continue remotely, and the Palestinian government is currently not considering a full lockdown despite a major spike in cases caused by the omicron variant, al-Kaila said.

According to the latest update from the Palestinian Health Ministry, there have been 3,316 new coronavirus cases in the West Bank over the past day, and 3,254 in the Gaza Strip. There are 95 coronavirus patients in serious condition in the West Bank, with 27 of these on ventilators, according to the ministry.

In Gaza, the spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry, Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, said the rate of COVID tests coming back positive was nearing 50 percent. There are 172 COVID patients in the hospital in Gaza, including 78 who are in serious and critical condition, according to al-Qidra.

In both the West Bank and Gaza, officials have intensified calls for residents to get vaccinated, with most of the serious cases being among unvaccinated people, most of whom have underlying health conditions, are older, or are pregnant. According to official Palestinian statistics, the number of people who have been vaccinated in the West Bank has surpassed 1.65 million.

In Gaza, officials reported that the number of people who have received vaccinations is approaching 600,000.

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