96% of the shops in Bethlehem were closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic - 23 March 2020 (Credits: Nour Qudeimat/ PNN)

Palestine back to lock-down starting Friday

PNN/ Ramallah/

Government spokesman, Ibrahim Melhem announced on Wednesday that all governorates will be locked down for five days starting Friday, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, with the surge of cases during the past week.

On Wednesday evening, the total number of cases in one day hit 330, raising the total number of cases to 3,095, including 2,450 active cases, 11 in intensive care units.

The announcement came during a press conference held by the spokesman who confirmed that the lock-down will exclude pharmacies, bakeries and supermarkets.

Melhem also called on citizens to strictly adhere to the lock-down and commit to  preventive measures, noting that the Palestinians are fighting both the pandemic and attempts to confiscate Palestinian land and rights.

He added that the length of the closure depends on the degree of awareness of the people, where shocking numbers of cases and deaths were recorded during the past few days. “The greater the awareness of the risks of the epidemic, the more cooperation there is, costs will be reduced and closures shortened,” he said.

He explained that the closure includes citizens and employees, so that the employees stop going to their workplaces during the closing period.

On the other hand, Melhem announced that the Palestinian Finance Minister, Dr. Shukri Bishara, will hold a press conference on Thursday to talk about the financial situation the governmental employee salaries, which have been delayed for two months now.

He added, “We are working on harmonizing the role of economic life and preserving the safety of citizens. What is taking place is a great keenness on enabling people to live in good health conditions away from the epidemic and enabling them to exercise their economic lives that are no less harmful than the damage of the epidemic.”