Palestinian president declares state of emergency due to coronavirus

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency through his prime minister on Thursday after the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Bethlehem.

Reuters reported that Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that the state of emergency would last for 30 days as officials deal with seven confirmed cases in the city.

“We have decided to declare a state of emergency in all Palestinian areas to confront the danger of the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading,” Shtayyeh said, reading from Abbas’s decree according to Reuters.

Abbas’s decree will apply to the Palestinian National Authority-dominated West Bank but it is unclear what measures are being undertaken in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

His health minister Mai Al-Kaileh confirmed earlier in the day that seven people had been quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus in Bethlehem.

“The seven Palestinians are under quarantine,” she said according to Anadolu News Agency.

Israel’s army has ordered a closure of the city in conjunction with Palestinian authorities, according to Haaretz, while 17 cases of the virus have been reported in Israel.

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