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Record-breaking virus numbers reported among Palestinians

Palestinians have seen a record-shattering 1,811 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, as the pandemic worsens in both the West Bank and Gaza.

Around 26% of tests came back positive among all Palestinians, indicating that the virus could be spreading even more widely while largely undetected.

Seventeen Palestinians died of the virus, setting another daily record.

According to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, the West Bank saw a record 1,126 cases over the past day. The previous record, set a day before, was 863.

While the outbreak is worst in Nablus — where 224 cases were identified — hundreds of cases were also discovered in Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Hebron governorates.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced that tighter restrictions will soon be put in place on the West Bank to “break the spread of the virus.”

On Friday and Saturday, PA-controlled areas will enter total lockdown before the beginning of a 14-day nightly curfew.

Business leaders, however, have come out in opposition to the lockdown, which they say will topple the already damaged Palestinian economy.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas health authorities identified 685 new cases.

Cases have spiked dramatically in the coastal enclave over the past week, with 3,703 new cases reported over the past five days.

Both the terror group and international observers have warned that the Gaza health system, worn down by years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and three wars, cannot handle a severe increase in cases.

There are currently 14,342 active coronavirus infections among Palestinians: 6,499 in the Gaza Strip and 7,843 in the West Bank. Around 740 Palestinians have died of the virus in the West Bank and Gaza.

— Aaron Boxerman

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