Palestine confirms 7 coronavirus cases in Bethlehem

Health Ministry announced state of emergency in West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Jericho over suspected cases

RAMALLAH, Palestine

The Palestinian authorities confirmed on Thursday seven coronavirus cases in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaileh said in a press conference that seven Palestinians tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“The seven Palestinians are under quarantine,” she said.

Al-Kaileh said that it was decided to activate the emergency plan in the governorates of Bethlehem and Jericho.

Accordingly, all educational institutions and training centers in the Bethlehem Governorate will be closed for a period of 14 days.

All mosques and churches, including Nativity church in Bethlehem, will also be closed for a fortnight, the period the virus takes to show symptoms.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian Health Ministry announced a state of emergency in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Jericho over suspected coronavirus cases.

The ministry said a hotel in Bethlehem was quarantined due to a number of suspected cases.

The Israeli Health Ministry confirmed a new coronavirus case in the occupied East Jerusalem, raising the total number to 16.

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread to more than 80 countries.

It has infected more than 95,000 people and claimed over 3,200 lives globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As part of their efforts to contain the outbreak, many governments closed their borders and suspended land and air services with the worst-affected countries such as South Korea, Italy and China.

The WHO, which already declared the outbreak an international health emergency, last week upgraded the global risk level to very high.

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