Palestinians report 19 new coronavirus cases in West Bank, 1 in Gaza

Officials in Ramallah says four people in intensive care in the West Bank; Hamas-run health ministry releases 632 from quarantine facilities in territory

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Members of the Palestinian Authority security forces patrolling in the village of Beitunia in the central West Bank on April 6, 2020. (Credit: Wafa)
Members of the Palestinian Authority security forces patrolling in the village of Beitunia in the central West Bank on April 6, 2020. (Credit: Wafa)

The Palestinian Authority announced 19 more cases of the coronavirus on Monday in the West Bank, while the Hamas-run Health Ministry reported one man was infected in the Gaza Strip.

Officials said the new cases in the West Bank included people from the Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah areas.

The Hamas-run Heath Ministry said the newly infected man in Gaza was in a quarantine facility and described his condition as “reassuring.”

So far, Palestinian authorities have said that 254 people have been infected by the virus in the West Bank and Gaza, including 24 who have recovered and one who died.

Kamal al-Shakhra, the director-general of the primary care in the PA Health Ministry, told reporters Monday morning that only four people in the West Bank were in intensive care, but said their conditions were stable.

He also said that 12 people who had been infected in the West Bank had now tested negative for COVID-19, adding that if they test negative two more consecutive times, the PA will consider them recovered.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry in Gaza said that it released 632 people Monday evening from quarantine facilities across the enclave.

Majdi Dahir, the deputy director-general of primary care at the ministry, called on them to quarantine themselves in their homes for the coming week.

Palestinian health workers wearing protective face masks are pictured in the courtyard of a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) school at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on March 18, 2020, as preparations are underway to receive, examine and isolate victims of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

The ministry has said 12 people in Gaza have been infected by the virus, including six who have recovered. It has said that all of those who carry or have carried it have been held in quarantine and have not mixed with the broader population.

Yousef Abu Rish, the head of the ministry, also told Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV that authorities in Gaza would run out of kits to test for the virus by the end  of Tuesday.

Abu Rish, however, suggested more kits would arrive in Gaza in the near future, noting the World Health Organization was working to provide additional ones to authorities.

Both the WHO and the PA have previously sent testing materials to Gaza.

Abu Rish said the ministry, as of Monday, has carried out 2,000 tests.

The PA and Hamas-dominated authorities have taken significant measures to prevent the spread of the disease in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.

The PA has drastically restricted freedom of movement in the West Bank, permitting people to leave their homes under a handful of circumstances such as going the supermarket, health institutions, among other places.

Hamas-run authorities have barred travel into and out of Gaza for the vast majority of people, shuttered mosques, restaurants, event halls and other locations.

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