Palestine declares 3rd state of emergency after spike in Covid-19 infections

Jerusalem, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a month-long state of emergency on Sunday due to an increase in the rate of Covid-19 infections which has seen the government impose severe restrictions.

A presidential decree stated that “the concerned authorities shall continue to take all necessary measures to face the dangers resulting from the coronavirus, protect public health and achieve security and stability”, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

It is the third time this year that this measure has been imposed, putting authorities on alert again after the first time at the beginning of March when the first infections were recorded in the West Bank.

The state of emergency will last until at least 5 August and could be extended longer if authorities consider it appropriate, as has previously been the case.

Palestine was initially not as badly affected as other nations by the Covid-19 outbreak which saw it embark on a reopening process to recover economic activity.

De-escalation of restrictions has led to a worrying increase in cases and a slight uptick in the number of deaths, a trend which reached a concerning peak this week when the area saw a record high in figures.

Palestine’s health ministry reported the death of two more people on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities to 19.

New infections have also continued to rise, with 208 fresh cases reported in 12 hours in the West Bank, the majority in Hebron province where the main focus of the pandemic is located.

Authorities ordered an almost total closure of the West Bank territory on Friday.

Movement between towns and provinces is banned and economic activity has been reduced to a minimum, with only essential shops and establishments allowed to remain open, until at least Wednesday.

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