Palestine lifts weekly lockdown, eases COVID-19 restrictions

Palestinian authorities have lifted the weekly lockdown and eased the tight precautionary measures imposed in the West Bank to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was decided by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye during a meeting with the highest Palestinian emergency commission, Ibrahim Milhem, the Palestinian government spokesman, told the media here on Wednesday.

“The meeting included the chiefs of security apparatuses and the governors of the West Bank’s districts and discussed the measures of coexisting with coronavirus amid a significant stable rate of infections,” said the spokesman.

The government will now allow all economic activities on weekends with public health safety measures in place, he said.

Milhem also said that the government would allow Friday prayers in public squares, but they have to take all preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing facemasks and gloves.

However, he said that the government would keep wedding and mourning halls closed and ban all other kinds of popular indoor gatherings to avoid any new infections.

Milhem noted that the government would close areas with new infections in villages, refugee camps, and cities, where governors, in partnership with various ministries and security bodies, would declare a lockdown.

Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said that 57.3 per cent infected cases had recovered, and the rate of deaths remained at 0.6 per cent.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Palestine currently stands at 19,594, with 114 deaths.