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COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Palestine

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COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine
COVID-19, Salfit 002.jpg
Empty streets in Salfit in March 2020
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationState of Palestine
First caseBethlehem
Arrival date5 March 2020
(Duration, 11 months, 3 weeks and 6 days)
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China
Confirmed cases423
Active cases72
Recovered348
Deaths
3
Official website
corona.ps

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the West Bank on 5 March 2020, beginning the COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine.[1] The Palestinian health ministry said the cases had first been detected at a hotel in the Bethlehem area, where a group of Greek tourists had visited the hotel in late February, with two later diagnosed with the virus.[2]

The first two cases in Gaza City, Gaza were diagnosed on 21 March. There are 55 cases with 16 recoveries as of 21 May 2020.[3]

Background[edit source | edit]

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[4][5] The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[6][7] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[8][6]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

Graph[edit source | edit]

Breakdown[edit source | edit]

The table below shows the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Governorates of Palestine.[9]

COVID-19 in Palestine by Governorate as of 20 May 2020
Governorate Cases Deaths Recoveries Active Cases
Bethlehem Governorate 59 0 59 0
Gaza Strip[lower-alpha 1] 30 0 16 14
Hebron Governorate 73 0 36 37
Jenin Governorate 4 1 3 0
Jericho Governorate 1 0 1 0
Jerusalem Governorate 140 1 131 8
Nablus Governorate 7 0 7 0
Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate 77 0 77 0
Salfit Governorate 1 0 1 0
Tulkarm Governorate 6 0 6 0
Total (10 of 12 Governorates*) 398 2 337 59
  • Tubas and Qalqilya governorates have no cases.

Timeline[edit source | edit]

March 2020[edit source | edit]

5 March:

7 March:

  • On 7 March, there were 22 cases of infections.[17]
  • The City of Bethlehem was locked down as 16 cases of infection are found in the West Bank, including nine cases in Bethlehem.[18] The lockdown is imposed by Israeli military as Israel controlled all entrances to the West Bank. According to the Israeli defense ministry, the lockdown of Bethlehem is imposed in coordination with Palestinian authorities.[19]

9 March:

  • Palestinian authorities announce that there are 5 more cases on the West Bank. Four cases were recorded in Bethlehem, and one in Tulkarm.[20]

13 March

14 March

  • 3 new cases have been announced, bringing the total to 38 cases.[22]

16 March

18 March

  • The number of cases has risen to 44.[25] 40 cases are from Bethlehem, two from Tulkarm, one from Ramallah and another from Nablus.[26][27]
  • Israeli Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennett said "Starting Wednesday, those West Bank-based Palestinians, who happen to work or trade in vital sectors, such as health, agriculture and building, can reside in Israel". More than 100,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank who work in Israel, usually return home on a daily basis.[28]
  • Yotam Shefer of COGAT announced the closing of Palestinian-administered areas of the West Bank on Wednesday to limit the spread of coronavirus, telling journalists the decision had been made in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority.[29]
  • Israel and the Palestinian Authority have set up a joint operations room to combat the pandemic, PA government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem revealed. An Israeli Defense Ministry official confirmed that a joint operations room has been set up with the Palestinians, but declined to provide further details.[30]
  • The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territories Jamie McGoldrick announced during a video conference with Mohammed Shtayyeh one million dollars of urgent joint financial support from multiple United Nations organizations to provide health aid and technical support to Palestine to help it confront the outbreak.[31]

19 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed three new cases bringing the total to 47. He said in the daily briefing that two cases were students returning home from France and quarantined before being in contact with anyone. The third is for a person from Nablus previously suspected of having the disease and was kept in home quarantine.[32]

20 March

  • The Minister of Health, Dr. Mai Al-Kaila, announced that 17 of the 19 cases who had been in quarantine in Bethlehem had recovered. The Minister said at a press conference held this Friday morning in Ramallah, that 17 patients who were in health quarantine in the city of Bethlehem will be allowed, after confirming their recovery, as they will be allowed to go to the house, with an emphasis on them to adhere to the home quarantine, and taking into account the measurement of temperature from time to time.
  • The Minister also announced a new case, a Palestinian from Salfit Governorate coming from Pakistan.[33][34]

21 March

  • Mai Kaileh confirmed four new cases bringing the total to 52. Three of the new cases were students from Ramallah returning from the United Kingdom and the fourth was a physician from Hebron who contracted the disease while working at the Israeli Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.[35]
  • On 21 March, Palestinian sources confirmed the first two cases in Gaza, which originated from Pakistan; the two Palestinians had traveled from Pakistan and had entered Gaza through Egypt. Once they had tested positive for the virus and they were placed in quarantine in Rafah since their arrival on 19 March.[36][37][38]
  • The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 53 cases have been confirmed in the West Bank.[39]

22 March

  • The spokesman for the Palestinian government updated the total number of cases in Palestine to 59 including the 2 cases in Gaza.[40][41]
  • The Palestine News Network said that newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported a WHO delegation arriving in Gaza via the Beit Hanoun Erez crossing.[42]
  • Following a meeting of the National Emergency, Prime Minister Shtayyeh announced a ban for 2 more weeks on movement between and inside of Palestinian cities for two weeks as of 10:00 PM with the exception of health facilities, pharmacies, bakeries, and grocery stores.[43]

23 March

  • The state-run Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza announced on Twitter that it will send $150 million in aid over a six-month period to support United Nations humanitarian programmes and efforts to help combat the new coronavirus outbreak.[44][45]

24 March

Workers at a quarantine site in Qusin.
  • The daily briefing confirmed the 60th case in Ramallah, who was a woman in her forties returning from the United States, and was immediately quarantined. A person who was previously reported as recovered was found on later testing to still have the disease.[46][47]

25 March

Amman Street in the city of Nablus is empty due to the mandatory quarantine in Palestine.
  • The daily briefing confirmed a rise to 62 cases with one being the daughter of the woman who had returned from the US and had tested positive on 24 March and the other being a 62-year-old woman from a village near Ramallah.[48]
  • Reporting the first fatality in the country, a woman aged 60 died.[49] Ibrahim Melhem said "The woman had experienced symptoms and was later hospitalized" before succumbing to the illness. The woman was from Biddu, north of Jerusalem and southwest of Ramallah. There are now 62 confirmed cases in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip. The two new cases are for the dead woman's son, 46, and his wife, 41.[50][51]
  • Israel is set to release two out of four Palestinian prisoners in the evening, (both Nablus residents), who have been under quarantine in the Ramla Prison Clinic for ten days as a precautionary measure on suspicion of contracting the virus after coming into contact with an ill Israeli prison officer. The prisoners are to be delivered to Palestinian medics at Beit Sira military checkpoint, west of Ramallah city.[52]

26 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed 13 new cases in the village of Biddu bringing the total in Palestine to 86. Tests on people who had been in contact with the woman who died on 25 March confirmed 13 new cases, bringing the total in that village to 18. Of the 86 cases, 9 are in Gaza, including seven who were confirmed positive earlier in the day and who had who came in contact at the Gaza quarantine center with the two confirmed cases held there. 17 cases in Bethlehem have recovered and have been sent to home quarantine for 14 days.[53]

27 March

  • Palestine Friday morning confirmed seven new cases, raising the total to 91; 5 were from Biddu and 2 were identified from 227 Palestinian workers who had returned from Israeli settlements, a man who worked as a gas station worker in Gush Etzion, north of Bethlehem, and his mother, who worked as a cleaner in a nearby settlement.[54] West Bank hospitals have 205 ventilating machines, and as of this date corona tests had been performed on 5,562 people.[49]

28 March

  • The daily briefing confirmed 6 new cases bringing the total to 97. Three cases in Artas included the 62-year-old husband of an infected woman as well as her 19-year-old and 17-year-old nephews and a further case being her sister from Beit Iskaria while two other cases were in Jerusalem area villages – a 29-year-old man from Hizma and a woman in her 20s from Al-Qubeiba, Jerusalem who was infected after socializing with an infected sister in Biddu.[55]
  • The National COVID-19 Response Plan specifies a requirement of $120 million over 90 days. On 27 March 2020, the humanitarian clusters released an updated inter-agency multi-sectoral COVID-19 response plan in support of this totaling $34 million over 90 days and forming a part of the global UN appeal launched on 25 March 2020.[56]

29 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed seven new cases in the West Bank, bringing the total in Palestine to 104. Six cases were confirmed in the village of Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem and a woman in her 30's from nearby Al-Qubeiba.[57]
  • Mohammad Shtayyeh announced two more cases in the West Bank, bringing the total to 106. At a press conference in Ramallah he said the two cases were for a Palestinian in the village of Qatanna and another in the Hebron Governorate. Additionally, Shtayyeh gave a government estimate of 12 cases among the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem and currently being treated in Israeli hospitals.[58]
  • Two new cases in the West Bank bring the total in Palestine to 108, said Mohammad Milhem. The two new cases are the husband and the son of a woman in Hebron diagnosed earlier with the disease. Two more people recovered in Bethlehem bringing total recoveries to 20, all of whom, bar one, were among the first to get the disease in Bethlehem.[59]

30 March

Al-Madīnah al-Munawwarah Street in Salfit is empty due to the outbreak in Palestine.
  • Ibrahim Melhem confirmed 7 new cases in Qatanna bringing the total number of cases to 115.[60]
  • In Gaza, more than 1760 people are in one of 25 designated quarantine facilities including at Rafah crossing quarantine centre or designated quarantine facilities. The quarantine period will be extended from two to three weeks (21 days). Those coming from crossings at Rafah or Erez have been quarantined since March 15.
    • Home quarantine ended on 26 March for those who entered Gaza 14 days prior.
  • The Ministry of Health limited public primary healthcare service delivery to 14 centers distributed across the five governorates, providing essential services only.[61]

31 March

  • Ibrahim Melhem confirmed 2 new cases, one in Ramallah and the second a man who returned to the Gaza Strip last week through the Rafah crossing and was placed in confinement since then. This brings the total number of cases to 117 of which 10 are in Gaza.[62]

April 2020[edit source | edit]

1 April

  • Fifteen new cases were confirmed in the West Bank today and 2 more in Gaza, bringing total in West Bank to 122 and in Palestine in general to 134, according to government spokesman Mohammad Milhem. The 15 were Palestinians who worked at a poultry factory in the Atarot industrial area of East Jerusalem. Milhem said Israel had communicated the possibility of the workers being infected and that although nine of the infected workers who were in one bus were taken straight from the factory to quarantine centers in Ramallah, the rest crossed Israeli military checkpoints, went to their villages and mingled with people before they were detected, which could raise the number of infected once tests are conducted.[63][64]
  • Israel has linked possible assistance for Gaza's efforts to combat the disease to progress in Israel's recovering the remains of two soldiers killed in the 2014 war.[65]

2 April

  • Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal Shakhra confirmed 21 new cases bringing the total to 155, most of the cases being Palestinians who worked in Israel and returned home along with those who were in contact with them. 20 were from the Ramallah and Jerusalem-area villages and one in Hebron. Workers returning home this week while Israel celebrates Passover were asked to isolate themselves at their homes for two weeks. The Health Ministry plans to check an estimated 60,000 workers as they return.[66]
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East resumed the distribution of food aid in the Gaza Strip on 31 March. Food baskets are now delivered directly to beneficiaries’ homes as a precautionary measure by UNRWA, to prevent gatherings as part of its steps to reduce and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.[67]
  • The number of confirmed cases rose to 161, five of them related to the Atarot poultry farm where 250 Palestinian workers who work there have yet to be tested plus one other in Beitunia.[68][69]

3 April

  • Ibrahim Milhem announced ten new cases bringing the total to 171, residents of Biddu, Qatanna, Hizma and Tulkarem. Test results for the 250 Palestinian workers from the Atarot poultry plant are due later.[70]
  • President Abbas declared a State of Emergency.[71]
  • Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh confirmed another 22 cases that brings the total to 193. The Prime Minister stressed that the next two weeks will be difficult as around 45,000 Palestinian workers in Israel return from their workplace in Israel. Shtayyeh added, "We are trying hard to arrange the return of the workers with the Israeli side so that we can take the necessary health measures. We hope that Israel will agree to this, as this virus is the enemy of all mankind and knows no borders, gender or religion," he said. "We also asked Israel to check the workers prior to their arrival."[72]

4 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed 11 new cases of coronavirus which together with the case from Halhoul raised the total to 205. All but three were Palestinian workers in a poultry factory in Lod apparently owned by the same person as the Atarot poultry factory. Three cases were in Beitunia, three in Qatanna, one in Beit 'Anan, two in Tulkarm refugee camp and two were in Surif. Out of the 205 cases, 12 are located in Gaza, among whom three have recovered.[73][74]
  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed 5 more cases and at the evening briefing, Kamal Shakhra confirmed a further 6 cases for a total of 216. The five cases were three from Halhul, the fourth case was from nearby Yatta and the fifth from Qarawat Bani Zaid. The additional six cases were reported in the governorates of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah. The rapid increase in cases is attributed to the gradual return of Palestinian workers in Israel and Israeli settlements to their homes.[75][76]

5 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed nine more cases bringing the total to 226. The nine cases were reported in the governorates of Ramallah, Jenin, and Jerusalem.[77] Ibrahim Milhem confirmed two new cases from Bethlehem area villages, six more in Beitunia which now is subject of a total lockdown, a case from the town of Sair and two others in Biddo, bringing the total to 237.[78][79][80][81]

6 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed 15 new cases for a total 252 cases at the daily briefing following 11 cases from two families in the Biddo, Qatanna and Jdeireh villages. Interior Ministry spokesman Ghassan Nimr said Biddo, Qatanna and Jdeireh villages had 99 cases alone, mainly caused by social visits. He said Bethlehem district had 52 cases and Ramallah district 58 cases, followed by 13 in the Hebron district, and the rest in other West Bank areas.[82]
  • A new total figure of 254 including a new case in Gaza was reported late in the day.[83]

7 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed 6 more cases bringing the total to 260.[84]
  • Al Quds University President, Professor Imad Abu Kishek announced that his university has "succeeded in producing a fully computerized ventilator capable of saving lives and providing a viable alternative to the shortage in Palestine and beyond in the standard commercial ventilators and other respiratory support machines". The Palestinian Ministry of Health had reported that only 250 medical ventilators are available throughout all Palestinian hospitals and that two-thirds of these machines are already in use. The ventilators should be ready for production as soon as the Palestinian Standard Institute (PSI) gives its final approval to the prototype.[85]

8 April

  • The daily briefing confirmed 2 new cases for a total 263. A total of 44 cases have recovered, 36 in the West Bank and eight in Gaza.[86]
  • The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini and Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh met by teleconference and discussed the situation of Palestine refugees, particularly in the face of the pandemic. The Commissioner-General updated the Prime Minister on the Agency's prevention and response plans and efforts to raise needed funds. He also briefed the Prime Minister on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.[87]

9 April

  • At the daily briefing Kamal Shakhra said that there were no new cases and gave a breakdown of the 263 cases to date, being 89 workers in Israel, 103 that were in close contact with infected cases, 29 among travellers, 40 cases that were in contact with the tourists in Bethlehem,1 medical staff and a prisoner. Shakhra said a total of 16,068 tests had been conducted since March 5.[88]
  • Meeting with Mohammed Shtayyeh, the European Union representative, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff announced an assistance package of around €71 million in response to the Palestinian Authority's COVID-19 Response Plan for dealing with the pandemic including contributing €9.5 million more to the six East Jerusalem hospitals.[89][90]

10 April

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed 3 new cases, one from Halhul and two cases from Artas for a total of 266. Recoveries increased to 45, including 9 in Gaza.[91] He also confirmed a second death, of a resident of Barta’a.[92]
  • The United Kingdom announced two support packages worth $1m to purchase medical supplies for health systems through UNICEF and WHO.[93]
  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed a new case in Bani Na'im for a total of 267.[94]

11 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed a new case in Jdeireh for a total of 268 while recovered cases reached 46.[95]
  • The Ministry of Health announced 11 recovered cases, bringing the total number to 57.[96]

12 April

  • A Palestinian worker showing coronavirus symptoms was left today by Israeli settlers outside Burkan said Abdullah Kmail, the Governor of Salfit.[97][98]

13 April

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed three cases, two overnight from Hebron and another from Rafat for a total 272 while recoveries rose to 59. He also said there were unconfirmed 36 corona cases in occupied East Jerusalem, which would bring the total in all the occupied Palestinian territories to 308.[99][100]

14 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed 10 new cases for a total of 284, 5 from Izzarieh, 3 from Rafat and 1 each from Jenin and Hebron with recoveries rising to 64.[101]
  • In East Jerusalem, medical professionals estimate that at least 80 patients have been diagnosed. Half the patients are said to be in Silwan. On 12 April, three cases were identified in Issawiya, two of whom work in the health system and in nursing homes, and the first patient was identified in Shuafat refugee camp. In response to increasing concern, the government announced that three more testing clinics would open in East Jerusalem, in Silwan, in Kafr Aqab and in Shuafat refugee camp.[102]
  • At the evening briefing, Ibrahim Milhem confirmed 3 more cases bringing the total to 287.[103]

15 April

  • Minister of Health Mai Alkaila confirmed 3 new cases in the West Bank today. Together with a new case reported late yesterday in Kharbatha al-Misbah this raised the total cases to 291. The three cases were medics apparently infected while working at Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem. Alkaila also said that it is believed there are 78 positive corona cases in East Jerusalem although this cannot be confirmed as Israel does not report the figure.[104][105]
  • A testing clinic in Silwan was closed down because the kits were supplied by the Palestinian Authority and Israel prohibits PA activity in Jerusalem. The Israeli Health Ministry recently opened a testing clinic in Silwan but it is only accessible to members of the Clalit health maintenance organization.[106]
  • Three new cases were confirmed including one from Bethlehem area who had previously recovered, bringing the total to 293. It is thought that there are 81 cases in East Jerusalem after 3 new cases were reported in Jabal al-Mukabber.[107]

16 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case bringing the total to 294. The three new cases late yesterday were for two medics from Dheisheh refugee camp and from Obeidieh and the third a man from Kharbatha al-Misbah.[108][109]
  • The United States announced $5 million in aid "to meet immediate, life-saving needs in combating COVID-19," ending a two-year freeze of aid funds.[110]

17 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 12 new cases bringing the total to 307 while there are thought to be 95 cases in East Jerusalem.The new cases are Palestinians working in Israel who had just returned home from their workplace or those who came in contact with them and came from Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. Another case was previously diagnosed in Bani Na'im. With eight recoveries in Ramallah, the total rose to 69.[111][112]
  • The UN Chief Antonio Guterres said that he asked the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, to work with Israeli officials to ensure the protection of the Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.[113]

18 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 6 new cases raising the total to 313. She also confirmed that a 78-year-old Palestinian from Issawiya died, the first victim in East Jerusalem, where there are thought to be 105 cases.[114]

19 April

  • Six new cases were confirmed raising the total to 320, Mai Alkaila said today. The six new cases were of a woman from the Shuqba, 4 cases for four sisters from Kafr Aqab and a sixth case in Tulkarm.[115][116]
  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed an additional two new cases in Yatta bringing the total to 322.[117]

20 April

  • Kamal Shakhra confirmed 7 new cases including 2 in Gaza for a total of 329. The cases include two from Beit Anan, two from Kafr Aqab and one from Nablus. Shakhra also said two people from Bethlehem who had recently recovered had once again tested positive for the disease, putting the total of recovered now at 69, including 11 in Gaza. There are thought to be 120 cases in East Jerusalem.[118]

21 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed no new cases were reported in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours. All the patients at corona centers are in good health and no one is currently in ICU. There are thought to be 132 cases in East Jerusalem and two Palestinians have also died there. A total of 25,000 corona tests were conducted so far and the health ministry in now in a position to do 4000 tests a day.[119]
  • The Health Ministry confirmed this evening five new cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 334, including three Palestinians from Kafr Aqab and two others from Gaza.[120]

22 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case in Kafr Aqab, bringing the total to 335. In addition, there are thought to be another 139 cases in East Jerusalem [121]
  • Referring to the April 16 announcement of $5 million in aid from the U.S., Salman al-Harfi, the Palestinian envoy to France said that Palestinian hospitals have yet to see any of the aid funds and went on to say $3.5 million had been allocated to non-governmental organizations friendly with Washington but provided no further details.[122]

23 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case in Dahrieh bringing the total cases to 336. There are also thought to be 144 cases from East Jerusalem neighborhoods inside the West Bank barrier. Recoveries in the West Bank rose to 74.[123][124]

24 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 4 new cases in Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem including a nurse working at the Augusta Victoria Hospital, for a total of 340 as well as 85 recoveries.[125]

25 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 2 new cases were confirmed today bringing the total to 342 as well as an additional 9 cases in Shuafat refugee camp for a grand total of 495 including East Jerusalem.[126]

26 April

  • According to a WHO recent summary:[127]
-342 cases including 325 in West Bank and 17 in Gaza Strip.
-153 cases and two deaths confirmed in East Jerusalem by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
-The Inter-Agency COVID-19 response Plan was updated and released by the Health Cluster[128]
-WHO delivered lab testing kits and essential medical supplies to Gaza Strip.

27 April

  • Restaurants in the Gaza Strip were allowed to reopen.[129]

28 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case in Bir Nabala and five other cases in the Ras Khamis area of Shufat refugee camp, two in Silwan, and one in the Old City. for a total of 501 (342 excluding East Jerusalem).[130]

29 April

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case in al-Ubeidiya plus two cases in Shufat, one in al-Issawiya. one in Beit Safafa and another in al-Tur for a total of 507 (343 excluding East Jerusalem).[131]

May 2020[edit source | edit]

1 May

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed today 10 new cases, 8 in Beit Liqyat and 2 cases in Kharbatha al-Misbah and in Anata, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Palestine to 517 (353 excluding East Jerusalem).[132][133]

3 May

  • 500 Palestinians that were stranded abroad, arrived at the Karama Border Crossing in Jericho. Col. Mustafa Dawabsheh, director of the Karama Border Crossing police, said the Ministry of Health would administer tests to the passengers before they return home for a 14-day quarantine. 2000 other stranded Palestinians are scheduled to return in groups shortly.[134][135]

4 May

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a new case in As-Samou' and 25 recoveries including 15 patients in Ramallah, seven in Bethlehem and three in Halhul.[136]
  • Mai Alkaila announced eight new cases in Hebron, six more from As-Samou', one from Hebron city and one from Adh-Dhahiriya.[137]

5 May

  • President Mahmoud Abbas declared a new state of emergency starting today for 30 days.[138]
  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 4 more cases in As-Samou' bringing the total to 366, as well as a further 25 recoveries raising the total number of recovered cases to 127.[139]

6 May

  • A further five new cases were confirmed last night in As-Samou' for total cases of 371 (if East Jerusalem cases are included, the total is 543).[140]
  • Mai Alkaila announced that the number of recovered cases increased to 222 in all Palestinian governorates, after registering 54 new recoveries.The minister said in a press release that 47 of the new recovery cases were recorded in the governorates of Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, while 7 cases were recorded from inside the city of Jerusalem. She pointed out that no new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Palestine, so that the total number of infections stabilized at 543, indicating that the percentage of recovery cases reached 40.8% of the total cases. Dr. Kamal Al-Shakhra said that this week saw about 100 new recovery cases reported, adding that the health status of all the injured in the isolation and treatment centers of the Ministry of Health is stable, and there is no patient inside the intensive care.[141]

7 May

  • Mai Alkaila this morning confirmed a new case in Hebron bringing the total in the West Bank to 355 and along with three cases confirmed in the Gaza Strip yesterday among arrivals from abroad bringing the total there to 20.[142]Health cluster on 5 May 2020 co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and WHO focused on operational challenges faced by partners, particularly local NGOs in Gaza, East Jerusalem Hospitals and the need to ensure continuing essential primary health care services.[143]

8 May

  • Mai Alkaila said today that half of the cases in Palestine have fully recovered, 37 new recoveries were recorded during the past 24 hours and the total number of recoveries in Palestine now stands at 282 (226 excluding East Jerusalem).[144]

9 May

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed a further 39 recoveries bringing the totals for Palestine to 547 cases with 222 remaining active, 133 of them being in "occupied East Jerusalem and the outskirts of the city on the West Bank side of the Israeli Segregation Barrier". The corresponding West Bank and Gaza figures are 375, 118 active following 29 recoveries.[145]

10 May

  • The Rafah border crossing opened for three days this week to allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return home. The crossing has been closed since mid-March as part of precautionary measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip.[146]
  • Mai Alkaila confirmed 30 more recoveries bringing the totals for Palestine to 547 cases with 192 remaining active, the corresponding West Bank and Gaza figures being 375, 88 active following 30 recoveries. She said five governorates in the West Bank are currently virus-free, namely Tubas, Jericho, Jenin, Qalqilia, and Bethlehem.[147]

11 May

  • Mai Alkaila said that for the fourth day in a row, no new cases were reported in Palestine and confirmed 16 more recoveries bringing the totals for Palestine to 547, including 355 in the West Bank, 20 in the Gaza Strip and 172 in occupied East Jerusalem.[148]

13 May

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed total cases in Palestine, which includes East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to 548. The West Bank has 355 cases and 20 in Gaza. Recoveries total 421 being 310 in the West Bank and Gaza and the rest in East Jerusalem. Alkaila said 123 cases are still active, including 60 in East Jerusalem, 17 in Jerusalem district villages under Palestinian Authority control, 13 in the Ramallah district, 24 in the Hebron district, two in Nablus, one in Tulkarm and six in the Gaza Strip.[149]

14 May

  • WHO reports just one confirmed case reported since 8 May.[150]

16 May

  • In addition to 5 recoveries reported yesterday[151] Mai Alkaila reported a further 12 recovery cases.[152]

17 May

  • Mai Alkaila confirmed that seven of the 17 governorates of Palestine are now free of coronavirus following the recoveries of the last seven active cases in Ramallah.[153]
  • Mai Alkaila confirmed five new cases in Hebron bringing total cases for a total 381.[154]

18 May

  • Ministry of Health confirmed Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin, Qalqilya, Salfit, Tubas, Jericho, and Bethlehem clear of the pandemic. Palestine reported 560 cases of coronavirus of whom 361 were in the West Bank, 20 in Gaza and 179 in occupied East Jerusalem with a total 453 recoveries.[155]
  • Mai Alkaila announced five new cases in Beit Ula, northwest of Hebron for total of 386 cases.[156]

19 May

  • Mai Alkaila announced two more cases in Beit Ula for a total of 388 cases. Recent cases in this village amount to 13, all recorded in the last two days.[157]
  • A commercial flight from the United Arab Emirates loaded with medical aid meant for the Palestinians, numbering around 16 tons, was refused by Palestine because it didn't want to be a "tool in the normalization" of relations between Israel and the UAE.[158][159]

20 May

21 May

  • The Government Information Center in the Gaza Strip announced 29 new cases among recent returnees via the Rafah border crossing. Authorities are considering a curfew and all border crossings to individuals will be closed until the end of June.[161] An aid package from the UAE which was rejected by the West Bank will instead be delivered to the Gaza Strip which has had a recent spike in new cases.[162][163]
  • The Ministry of Health confirmed six more cases in the Gaza Strip, bringing the total cases there to 55.[164]

East Jerusalem[edit source | edit]

According to WHO, cases from East Jerusalem are managed by the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) and hospitals in Israel and 10 testing centres were opened by Israeli health authorities in Shuafat, Shuafat refugee camp, Silwan, Sur Baher, Jabal Mukaber, Beit Safafa, and Jerusalem.[124] EJHN includes six hospitals: Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, Augusta Victoria Hospital, Palestine Red Crescent Society Hospital, St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group, Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre, and Saint Joseph Hospital.[165] In September 2018 the U.S. cut $25 million in funding, representing 40% of costs for these hospitals.[166]

Israeli officials have expressed concern that the virus might spread in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that are part of municipal Jerusalem but on the far side of the West Bank barrier. Kafr Aqab, which has 60–70,000 residents, and Shuafat Refugee Camp with around 80,000 have not been receiving a sufficient level of services.[167]

On 20 May, 2020, it was announced that the European Union (€13 million), Finland (€3 million), and Italy (€1 million) are making a contribution totalling €17 million in support of the payment of medical referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals.[168]

Outbreaks[edit source | edit]

Bethlehem[edit source | edit]

The city of Bethlehem became the first to experience an outbreak with confirmed cases in early March. The City of Bethlehem was locked down on March 7 as 16 cases of infection were found in the West Bank, including nine cases in Bethlehem.[18]

Palestinian refugee camps[edit source | edit]

The crowded Palestinian refugee camps face a grave threat if coronavirus spreads.[169] On April 22, a Palestinian from Syria became the first case reported in a refugee camp, located in the Wavel refugee camp in Bekaa, Lebanon.[170][171] On April 24, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates (FAE) confirmed 4 more cases in Al-Jalil refugee camp, raising the total to five.[172]

Palestinians abroad[edit source | edit]

The FAE announced 500 cases and 23 deaths among Palestinians in the diaspora, including 349 cases and 15 deaths in the United States. The ministry noted that around 1,000 Palestinian doctors were participating in health efforts in Europe along with hundreds more in the US, Venezuela and Cuba among other states. Four doctors were declared dead after contracting coronavirus; one in New Jersey, two in Spain and one in Italy, while some 20 American doctors and paramedics tested positive for the virus in New Jersey.[173]

The FAE updated to 678 cases and 30 deaths, 437 and 22 respectively being in the U.S., 3 in Spain and one each in Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Algeria and Sweden.[174]

The FAE announced on April 23 the first death among the Palestinian community in the United Kingdom raising the number of diaspora Palestinians worldwide who died from the disease to 49. The overall number of cases among diaspora Palestinians rose to 1042 with the majority of cases and deaths being in the United States.[175] On May 4, the FAE confirmed cases and deaths among Palestinians in the diaspora have risen to 1,275 and 68 respectively with 512 recoveries.[137]

On May 18, the FAE confirmed 1,573 cases and 85 deaths among Palestinians in the diaspora with 744 recoveries.[176]


See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. Includes Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis governorates.
  2. There is no RS for 3 cases prior to this but the detail breakdown at corona.ps, shows an increase of 10 cases in Gaza, assumed to be the seven cases reported here plus the three that are missing an RS.

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External links[edit source | edit]