Palestine to tighten anti-coronavirus measures for 2 weeks in West Bank

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RAMALLAH, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye announced on Monday that his government will tighten the precautionary measures for two more weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the West Bank.

“The indicators of the spread of the virus forced us to close many areas that have high rates of infections,” Ishtaye said in a statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

He called for abiding by the preventive measures, mainly wearing masks and keeping social distancing, saying that many countries returned to lockdowns “to combat the new, deadliest and fastest-spreading strains.”

Ishtaye said there was a delay in the arrival of the vaccines required for the vaccination process, which was scheduled to start on Monday for the elderly and those with chronic diseases.

Meanwhile, Kamal al-Shakhra, a spokesperson of the Palestinian Health Ministry, told reporters in Ramallah that his ministry supports the extension of the anti-coronavirus precautionary measures in the West Bank for two more weeks.

“Rates of infections, deaths and hospitalizations are on the rise, and there is a clear lack of commitment by the citizens in the West Bank,” the spokesperson said.

The ministry said earlier in its daily coronavirus report that Palestine reported five fatalities and 1,048 new COVID-19 cases in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Palestine in March last year, the virus has claimed the lives of 2,133 Palestinians, and 190,316 have been infected, including 177,474 recoveries.

On Monday, the ministry also said in a statement that Israel “prevents the entry of the coronavirus vaccines that we have sent to the Gaza Strip.”

“We hold it fully responsible for this arbitrary measure that is contrary to all international norms, laws, and agreements,” said the statement. Enditem

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