Feb 27, 2021 - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian at the Al-Mezan Hospital in Hebron city, in the occupied West Bank

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

  • The Israeli prime minister’s office announced this week that the country will send a "symbolic amount" of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority and to several countries that have asked for assistance, Axios' Barak Ravid reported.
  • While the Palestinian Authority has started a limited inoculation campaign, with more vaccine shipments on the way, per The New York Times, it remains unclear when the majority of the more than 5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will have access to vaccines.

Details: The West Bank restrictions, set to begin on Sunday, will last at least 12 days, per the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

  • Most schools must close and universities will be required to shift to virtual instruction.
  • The restrictions include a ban on most travel between provinces and to and from Jerusalem, an overnight curfew and a ban on most movement Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Weddings, parties and funerals will also be prohibited.

By the numbers: The West Bank and Gaza have recorded more than 181,900 COVID-19 cases and 2,025 deaths since the pandemic began, per Johns Hopkins University data.

  • The Palestinian Ministry of Health said Saturday that the West Bank reported 910 new cases and five deaths in the previous 24 hours, according to the Times.

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