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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinians extend West Bank coronavirus lockdown

More than 4,200 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the West Bank [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 July, 2020

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A lockdown in the occupied West Bank has been extended for five days following a spike in coronavirus cases.
The Palestinian Authority announced it was prolonging a lockdown in the occupied West Bank for five days following a spike in coronavirus infections.

The lockdown, which began on Friday, will be extended until Sunday evening, Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said on Tuesday.

More than 4,570 people have tested positive for Covid-19 since the illness was first recorded in the West Bank and 17 have died, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

A week ago those figures stood at 2,356 cases and five deaths.

The Palestinian Authority imposed a full West Bank lockdown after the first coronavirus cases were identified in early March, lifting it at the end of May.

Tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians travel to work in Israel as day labourers.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Monday called on Israel to close crossings, saying a lack of Palestinian control over the access points was responsible for surging coronavirus cases. 

The call from prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh came as both the occupied West Bank and Israel continued to see a rising virus caseload, sparking fears of a second pandemic wave that could prove difficult to contain. 

Read also: Israeli defence firms sign deal with UAE tech company on coronavirus research

"The infection rates reached unprecedented levels in Palestine due to many things, including that we do not control our crossings (and) our borders," Shtayyeh said ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting. 

"We are calling on Israel to close all the crossings and for Palestinians working in Israel to stay at their places of work and not return to the Palestinian territories," he said. 

There have been more than 4,200 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank, including 16 deaths. 

Israel has meanwhile recorded more than 30,000 cases, including nearly 18,000 recoveries and more than 330 deaths.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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