חיטוי של עובד שעבר במעבר תרקומיא
Palestinian laborers disinfected by health workers at a border crossing near Hebron
Photo: EPA
Palestinian laborers disinfected by health workers as they enter from Israel

PA fears loss of control over second coronavirus wave

Palestinian Authority reports virus cases tripling in three weeks, with West Bank doctors pleading for more manpower and small business owners protesting virus restrictions;

Elior Levy |
Published: 07.19.20 , 22:36
Despite both a partial and full lockdown of areas, the second wave of coronavirus infections within the Palestinian Authority (PA) seems to have hit harder than the first wave, with the leadership in Ramallah fearing they might lose control of the situation.
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  • The number of active cases within the Authority was said to be 6,566, Three times the number of reported cases in early July.
    חיטוי של עובד שעבר במעבר תרקומיאחיטוי של עובד שעבר במעבר תרקומיא
    Palestinian laborers disinfected by health workers as they enter from Israel
    (Photo: EPA)
    At the beginning of the month, there were seven reported deaths from coronavirus, That number has now reached 58 fatalities according to the latest tally.
    The most serious virus hotspot was the Hebron District, which alone held nearly 60% of the PA's COVID-19 patients. As a result, the area was subject to the harshest travel restrictions within the PA.
    Head of Doctors’ Syndicate in Hebron Dr. Wael Abu Snina said that medical staff in his city were exhausted and suffered from a shortage of equipment.
    שוטרים פלסטינים שוטרים פלסטינים
    Palestinian police officers in Hebron enforcing coronavirus travel restrictions
    (Photo: EPA)
    He urged the government to speed up staffing of more medical teams, noting that 15% of the staff on hand had been infected with the novel virus.
    The PA is not only dealing with the public health consequences of the pandemic, but also its economic fallout.
    The patience and adherence to restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, seen during the first wave, have diminished in the second wave.
    Over the past several weeks, protests were held by Palestinian business owners severely hit by the travel restrictions, primarily harming taxi drivers and restaurant and shop owners.
    Palestinian security services were taking a firm stance against violators of heath directives fearing the pandemic could get out of control.
    תרגיל רחב היקף בשכונת נסר שבעיר עזה שמהלכו דימו תפיסה ובידוד של חולהתרגיל רחב היקף בשכונת נסר שבעיר עזה שמהלכו דימו תפיסה ובידוד של חולה
    Hamas militants performing a coronavirus drill in Gaza City
    In order to deal with people breaking quarantine and to monitor confirmed virus patients, the Palestinian Preventive Security's cyber unit announced that it had developed a phone tracking technique to monitor the population.
    Palestinian interior ministry spokesman Ghassan Nimr said morbidity is increasing within the PA because the Palestinian people are not adhering to public health orders.
    He noted that while in Palestinian cities, most residents were wearing protective face coverings in public, in the villages only 10% of people going outside their homes were wearing a mask.
    He added that the Palestinian police would increase enforcement and impose more fines on those who were not observing public health orders.
    The PA has entered this second wave of infections at a disadvantage compounded by the complete severing of ties with Jerusalem over the proposed Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, and the suspension of security coordination with the IDF.
    The PA had refused to receive international aid arriving via Ben Gurion Airport including supplies that were sent two separate times from Abu Dhabi in recent months
    המטוס בנתב"גהמטוס בנתב"ג
    An Ethihad airliner at Ben Gurion Aiport with supplies and aid meant for the Palestinian Authority
    Palestinian officials say they were expecting aid from China and Saudi Arabia in a shipment coordinated by the UN. and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced that Germany would be donating 50 ventilators to the Authority in the coming days.
    In the Gaza Strip as of Sunday, there were only five known active coronavirus patients.
    Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hamas had taken draconian steps to prevent an outbreak within the enclave.
    The terror group had set up several large quarantine centers to hold those returning to the Strip through the Rafah border and prisoners released from Israeli custody and returned to Gaza were ordered to quarantine for three-week upon entering the enclave.
    מרכז בידוד חדש ברצועת עזהמרכז בידוד חדש ברצועת עזה
    The quarantine center being built near the city of Deir al-Balah
    Hamas has demonstrated it would not be taking any chances and was preparing for a possible new wave of infections during the winter which would coincide with regular seasonal ailments.
    On Saturday, they held a large drill in the Nasser District within Gaza City simulating the detainment and quarantining of coronavirus patients. Dozens of Hamas militants and health teams took part in the exercise.
    In addition, The Gaza rulers had ordered the construction of a new massive 350 room quarantine facility near the city of Deir al-Balah.
    This center would replace several schools that had been turned into isolation facilities, ahead of the start of the school year, which would be subject to coronavirus restrictions.

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