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Hamas to tighten virus restrictions amid surge in coronavirus infections

New COVID-19 restrictions will be imposed in the Gaza Strip as Hamas authorities weigh how to combat a wave of coronavirus infections in the Palestinian enclave, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry announces.

Gaza has 10,321 active cases, and 827 were recorded over the past 24 hours. Around 32% of coronavirus tests came back positive over the past day.

Mosques, schools, universities and nurseries will all be closed for the foreseeable future, a nightly curfew is being imposed starting at 6 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday there will be a total lockdown across the Gaza Strip, says Interior Ministry spokesperson Iyad al-Bozm.

“We considered imposing a full lockdown, but we decided against it, given the burdens it imposes,” al-Bozm sais.

Around 88% of hospital beds with ventilators for coronavirus patients in critical condition were occupied as of this morning, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reported last night.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said authorities estimated that another 17,000 Gazans exposed to the virus have been ordered to quarantine.

“The reality is, we are in an extremely dangerous stage,” al-Qidra said.

— Aaron Boxerman

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