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Palestinian health workers spray disinfectant in Khan Yunis, Gaza, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Palestinian health workers spray disinfectant in a residential area to try and limit the spread of the coronavirus, in Khan Yunis, Gaza Strip, April 9, 2020 (Photo by Yousef Masoud for Sipa via AP Images).

Under Lockdown and Occupation, Palestinians Fear a COVID-19 Catastrophe

Monday, April 13, 2020

RAMALLAH, West Bank—The coronavirus came quietly to Gaza on March 21. Two residents who had returned from Pakistan via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt were diagnosed with COVID-19, sending waves of shock and fear across the Palestinian territories.

The outbreak started out small in the West Bank, as well. Seven Palestinians who had interacted with a group of tourists visiting Bethlehem on March 5 were confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. Authorities quickly scrambled to implement a containment strategy for Jesus’ biblical birthplace, and imposed a lockdown on the entirety of the West Bank on March 22. Movement between cities, villages and refugee camps was banned except in medical emergencies. As of April 10, there were 263 Palestinians infected with the virus, 40 of whom are children, according to a Palestinian government spokesperson. ...

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