On 13 March 2020, as of 11:00 am, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed to WHO a total of 35 cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in the West Bank. No cases have been reported in Gaza
A total of 6 new confirmed cases were reported on 09 March, 5 new confirmed cases were reported on 11 March, and 1 new confirmed case was reported on 12 March 2020 and 4 new on 13 March 2020. In addition to the 19 already confirmed cases, this brings the total to 35.
All cases except one (in Tulkarm) are from Bethlehem
COVID-19 cases reported from Bethlehem have developed no symptoms so far. Fourteen cases are in a designated health facility in Bethlehem (a converted drug rehabilitation center) and the others remain quarantined in a hotel.
A preventive medicine doctor is available on site to ensure adequate case management procedures. Infection prevention and control protocols were implemented as per WHO guidelines. Investigations and contact tracing continue. The Tulkarm patient is asymptomatic and quarantined at home
In Gaza, citizens are unable to travel except for urgent humanitarian reasons. Those coming from crossings Rafah or Erez will be quarantined either at their homes or at the quarantine area in Rafah. Schools will be closed till the end of March and the decision will be reviewed weekly by authorities.
Led by the UN Resident Coordinator, WHO has held donor briefings and several donors have stepped in and pledged additional resources to support the government’s efforts and to address identified medical supply and equipment gaps.
It is important to mobilize the community to combat rumours and misinformation. WHO and UNICEF are jointly leading a risk communications strategy and are working with a new communications taskforce with the MOH and private sector to tackle misinformation and share public information
WHO urges the public to obtain the latest information on COVID-19 from key sources such as MoH and WHO (see Twitter, Facebook and oPt website), and follow and promote the recommended basic preventive and protective measures.
WHO is continuing to work with partners to support the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) efforts to respond to the COVID-19 situation in oPt:
WHO coordinates the preparation of an inter-agency COVID-19 response plan for the oPt with a list of priority actions for the next three months. A meeting of operational Health Cluster partners took place on 11 March to finalize the plan
PPE kits were mobilized and provided to the MoH and health partners by WHO in the West Bank and Gaza and swabs were delivered for testing at MOH.