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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.

Go deeper: Blinken asks for Israeli help in facilitating vaccines to Palestinians

Go deeper

Feb 27, 2021 - World

Brazil's capital to enter 24-hour lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

A health care worker administering a coronavirus vaccine in Brasilia, Brazil, Feb. 10. Photo: Xinhua/Lucio Tavora via Getty Images

The Brazilian capital of Brasilia will enter a 24-lockdown on Saturday as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Hospitals in Brasilia, the third-largest city in Brazil, have struggled to keep up with hospitalizations from the virus. More than 80% of the city's intensive care beds are occupied, according to Reuters.

Feb 27, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court again OKs indoor church services in California amid pandemic

Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that five California churches in Santa Clara County are exempt from a health directive prohibiting indoor gatherings, and are now permitted to resume services indoors.

Why it matters: The late Friday action is the latest in a string of orders directing state and local governments to whittle down public-health orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 27, 2021 - Health

Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wastewater is proving a valuable resource to genetically track the spread of the coronavirus — and the emergence of new variants.

Why it matters: As long as widescale testing and genetic surveillance remains constrained, we'll always be a step behind COVID-19. But sequencing sewage presents a cheap and simple way of keeping tabs on viral spread within a community.