Palestinian PM Orders Two-week West Bank Lockdown to Contain Coronavirus Outbreak

All residents must home-confine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as PM Shtayyeh urges Israel to provide adequate conditions for Palestinian workers in the country and share responsibility for Jerusalem's Palestinians

Jack Khoury
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Palestinians from the rehabilitation committee of Hebron disinfect the Ibrahimi Mosque, or the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 11, 2020.
Palestinians from the rehabilitation committee of Hebron disinfect the Ibrahimi Mosque, or the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 11, 2020.Credit: HAZEM BADER / AFP
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced Sunday new strict regulations to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, limiting movement to all West Bank residents starting 10 P.M. Sunday.

57 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed so far in the West Bank, and 17 have recovered, the majority of them in Bethlehem. While In Gaza, two cases were diagnosed in patients who returned from Pakistan.

Palestinians are ordered not to leave their homes except in emergency cases. Medical facilities, pharmacies, bakeries and grocery stores are exempted from the order.

The regulations also require all those coming from abroad to remain in isolation for 14 days at a medical facility. Banks will work in emergency mode, and Palestinians will be prohibited to enter Israeli settlements.

Shtayyeh also urged Israel to provide humanitarian working conditions for Palestinian workers remaining in Israel, and to share responsibility for Palestinian residents in Jerusalem.

The statement added that Israel is expected to hold full responsibility for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and urged the Israeli government for their immediate release, "especially the ill, women and children."

The prime minister also urged Palestinian citizens of Israel to not travel to the West Bank. 

The statement reassured Palestinians that there is enough food supply to last through this period, and that police and security forces will be spread across the West Bank to maintain order and enforce these regulations.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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