The Palestinian government on Sunday ordered Palestinians in the West Bank confined to their homes for two weeks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.
The order, announced by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on television, goes into force at 10 pm local time.
Medical personnel, pharmacists, grocers and bakers would be exempt, Shtayyeh said.
In the West Bank, 55 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed, with 17 recovering. Most of the cases were in the city of Bethlehem.
There have been no deaths from the virus reported in the Palestinian areas.
Sunday's announcement came just hours after the Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the first two cases of the virus in the Gaza Strip.
The two, who recently returned to Gaza from Pakistan, have been moved to isolation at a hospital in the southern city of Rafah.
The development added to fears of a potential outbreak in crowded Gaza, which has an overstretched health care system after years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, cross-border conflicts with Israel and Palestinian political divides.
Hundreds of Gazans have returned home in the past two weeks, but only 92 people have been examined, highlighting the territory’s limited tested capacity.
Gaza has been mostly cut off from the world as Israel and Egypt imposed severe movement restrictions following the 2007 takeover by the Hamas terror group. This is believed to have delayed the arrival of the virus.
Israel and Egypt in the past two years relaxed some travel restrictions on Gaza’s 2 million residents, but they closed their borders again last week as those two countries struggle to contain the coronavirus spreading on their territories. Gaza residents are still allowed to return home.
More than 1,270 people are quarantined at hospitals, hotels and schools after crossing into Gaza from Israel and Egypt, the ministry said.
On Saturday, Hamas’ Interior Ministry shut down wedding halls and banned weekly street markets as precautionary measures.
The vast majority of infected people recover from the virus. For most, it produces only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But the coronavirus can cause severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death, for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.