Palestinian PM announces stricter restrictions against COVID-19

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RAMALLAH, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye announced on Saturday a series of stricter restrictions against COVID-19 following the rapid increase of infections in the Palestinian territories.

Ishtaye made this announcement during a meeting in Ramallah with the heads of the security services.

According to the state-run WAFA news agency, the meeting decided to reactivate the emergency committees in all districts, cities, villages, and refugee camps.

The meeting also decided to ban all forms of public gatherings, including weddings, memorial services, graduation parties and others.

The meeting that Ishtaye chaired also decided to close all the areas that had witnessed high numbers of COVID-19 cases, and issue strict instructions to punish those who violate the measures of the Health Ministry.

Ishtaye directed his instructions to all citizens, including civil servants and security employees, to abide by the terms of safety and protection in open and close places.

He also expressed hope that the Palestinians, who live in Israel, to refrain from visiting the West Bank for one week.

The meeting also recommended to completely lock down all villages, refugee camps, and cities that have high numbers of cases infected with the virus, and called for cooperation to implement strict measures.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said that a woman and a man died from COVID-19 in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud and in Hebron respectively, increasing the death toll in Palestine to seven.

Al-Kaila said that 258 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, the highest daily record in Palestine since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic on March 5.

The new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 infections in Palestine to 2,053, she said, adding that currently 1,427 patients are still receiving medical care, including 11 in critical condition.

The critical cases are currently in intensive care units in the districts of Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, including two cases on respirators.

Nearly 5,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours across the Palestinian territories, according to the Health Ministry.

The new wave of infections hit the West Bank in mid-June. Hebron, the largest district in the West Bank, is becoming the new epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine, with a majority of the cases reported there. It was followed by Nablus in the northern West Bank.

The Palestinian authorities have reinstated limited lockdowns in Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem as mosques and churches across the West Bank were closed again. Enditem

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