Palestinians close West Bank cities as coronavirus cases spike
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday said it was temporarily closing the cities of Hebron and Nablus in the occupied West Bank to contain the spread of coronavirus after a sharp rise in infections.
"The government decided to close the governorate of Hebron to prevent anyone from entering or exiting, with the exception of the transport of merchandise," Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said.
He told a news conference that Hebron would be closed for five days and Nablus for 48 hours.
The measures come after an increase in Covid-19 infections in both cities. Last month the Palestinian Authority lifted lockdown measures when cases decreased.
Hebron saw 48 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 258, while authorities have reported 23 cases in Nablus.
Authorities have reported a total of 687 cases in the West Bank, including two deaths so far.
Israel has previously hampered Palestinian efforts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, demolishing a makeshift clinic, and preventing Palestinian police from setting up checkpoints to control movements.
Palestinian volunteers set up their own checkpoints because police were unable to.
Israeli soldiers and settlers have also deliberately tried to spread coronavirus among Palestinians by spitting at homes and cars.