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Hamas says Gaza could be locked down for Eid amid rise in coronavirus cases

The Gaza Strip may enter lockdown [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 May, 2020

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Hamas official Khalil al Hayya says Gaza may enter full lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise, as Gazans prepare to celebrate Eid on Sunday.

Gaza is considering going into lockdown just in time for Eid as coronavirus cases spike after a wave of infections.

As residents of the Gaza Strip returned to the besieged territory from abroad in recent days, the rate of infection has more than doubled.

The impoverished Palestinian enclave had previously managed to limit the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to no more than 20, with its borders with both Israel and Egypt closed.

But in recent days, around 1,500 Palestinians who had been trapped in Egypt were allowed to return via the Rafah crossing, while smaller numbers were permitted to enter from Israel.

They were all placed in quarantine, but 35 new cases have been confirmed among them, including 25 on Thursday, authorities announced, raising the total number of cases in the Gaza Strip to 55.

Health ministry official Yussef Abu al-Reesh said those infected had mingled with other returning residents, including in the quarantine centres.

Authorities were verifying whether any of the returnees had met with people from inside Gaza before entering quarantine, he added.

Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya said on Thursday the increase of coronavirus cases in Gaza poses a “serious threat.”

He added that Hamas authorities are considering imposing a complete lockdown during Eid al-Fitr, which begins on Sunday, adding that the decision will be made by the end of the week depending on the number of people testing positive in the latest round of tests.

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