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The New Arab Staff

West Bank schools shut amid spike in Covid-19 variant cases

The occupied West Bank has seen a spike in coronavirus cases [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 February, 2021

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Testing conducted by Palestinian health authorities revealed three quarters of Covid-19 patients we infected with the UK variant.
Schools in the occupied West Bank will close for 12 days amid a sharp rise in coronavirus variant cases, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Saturday.

The closure, which comes into effect on Sunday, excludes secondary schools, Shtayyeh said in a televised address.

The PA premier added that the restrictions had come into effect because of rising cases of coronavirus variants first detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Covid-19 intensive care units in the West Bank have reached 95 percent occupancy, the PA health ministry said, attributing the sharp rise in cases to schools.

The health ministry reported on Thursday that a randomised sample of Covid-19 patients showed that three-quarters were infected with the British variant.

The West Bank is home to some 3.1 million Palestinians and has reported a total of 118,519 coronavirus cases, with 1,406 deaths.

Earlier this week, a World Bank report said the occupied Palestinian territories have one of the lowest testing rates in the Middle East and North Africa. It added that West Bank's positivity rate is more than 21 percent, while Gaza's stands at 29 percent.

Gaza, which has been subjected to years of crippling blockade by Israel, has reported 55,091 cases and 549 deaths within its population of two million.

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