Palestinians clamp down on virus with stricter measures
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday announced stricter Covid-19 restrictions, including the closure of schools and universities for two weeks to combat a surge in coronavirus infections.
Prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the measures will apply across the Israeli-occupied West Bank, during a speech broadcast on television.
Schools and universities are to close from Sunday, with students continuing classes remotely, he said.
Gyms, restaurants, cafes and hairdressers will likewise remain closed for a fortnight.
Public and private transport between the 11 provinces of the occupied West Bank will be banned from Thursday, he added.
Ministries and other government agencies would work at an "emergency pace", with the number of staff at the workplace reduced to 30 percent, Shtayyeh added.
A night-time curfew imposed at the end of November for two weeks will be extended, Shtayyeh said.
Last week, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced that Christmas mass in Bethlehem, normally attended by Christian congregations in the West Bank village, would be closed to the public this year due to the pandemic.
The West Bank, with a Palestinian population of more than 2.8 million, has officially recorded 86,594 coronavirus infections, including 846 deaths, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Israel has occupied the territory since 1967.