2020 coronavirus pandemic in the State of Palestine
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The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the West Bank on 5 March, 2020, beginning the 2020 coronavirus outbreak in Palestine. 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.
|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Palestine|
|Location||State of Palestine|
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||5 March 2020|
(Duration, 1 month and 3 days)
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.
Total confirmed cases Recovered Deaths
|Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate||51||0||0||51|
|Total (8 Governorates)||205||1||21||183|
- Seven COVID-19 disease cases were confirmed near Bethlehem in the West Bank. 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. The Church of the Nativity is expected to close after 2 Greek visitors that later tested positive were visiting hotels in the area.
- As a result, the Palestinian government announced a complete ban on entry of foreign tourists. The Palestinian government declared a state of emergency in the West Bank on 5 March. Schools, universities, mosques and churches were closed for one month.
- On 7 March, there were 22 cases of infections.
- The City of Bethlehem is locked down as 16 cases of infection are found in the West Bank, including nine cases in Bethlehem. 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.
- Palestinian authorities announce that there are 5 more cases on the West Bank. Four cases were recorded in Bethlehem, and one in Tulkarm.
- The Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 35 coronavirus cases on March 13, mostly concentrated in the Bethlehem Governorate.
- 3 new cases has been announced, bringing the total to 38 cases.
- A second case was confirmed in Tulkarm raising the number in Palestine to 39. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that Kuwait has contributed $5.5 million to help the Palestinians overcome coronavirus.
- The number of cases has risen to 44. 40 cases are from Bethlehem, two from Tulkarm, one from Ramallah and another from Nablus.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 53 cases have been confirmed in the West Bank.
- The spokesman for the Palestinian government updated the total number of cases in Palestine to 59 including the 2 cases in Gaza.
- The Palestine News Network said that newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported a WHO delegation arriving in Gaza via the Beit Hanoun Erez crossing.
- 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.
- The state-run Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza announced on Twitter today 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reporting the first fatality in the country, a woman aged 60 died. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. West Bank hospitals have 205 ventilating machines, and as of this date corona tests had been performed on 5,562 people.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 
- 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.
- 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.
- Ibrahim Melhem confirmed 7 new cases in Qatanna bringing the total number of cases to 115.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- President Abbas declared a State of Emergency.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- Kamal Shakhra confirmed nine more cases bringing the total to 226. The nine cases were reported in the governorates of Ramallah, Jenin, and Jerusalem.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.
- 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.
- A new total figure of 254 including a new case in Gaza was reported late in the day.
- Kamal Shakhra confirmed 6 more cases bringing the total to 260.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
Palestinian refugee campsEdit
The Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry 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.
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