West Bank reports over 2,000 fresh Covid-19 cases amid spike in infections

Jerusalem, Mar 7 (efe-epa).- The West Bank on Sunday reported over 2,000 fresh coronavirus infections amid a spike in cases that has forced the authorities to impose lockdown in some areas.

A total of 2,095 new cases have been detected over the past 24 hours, the health ministry announced. It is one of the highest figures since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the Palestinian territory.

Since mid-February, Palestinian authorities have faced an increase in the cases, partly driven by the spread of the British and South African variants, which has seen numbers of hospital admissions and severe cases double.

After restrictions announced in late February proved ineffective in slowing down the spread of the virus, authorities announced a week-long total lockdown in the cities of Nablus and Ramallah that came into force on Saturday.

Under the lockdown, only bakeries and pharmacies are allowed to open. Supermarkets are only permitted to open on Sunday and Thursday and travel is limited to medical personnel.

The West Bank’s vaccination rollout is close to capacity, with the authorities having administered over 90 percent of 9,800 doses they have received.

The Palestinian National Authority is expected to obtain jabs through the World Health Organization’s COVAX mechanism besides purchased doses.

The Gaza Strip, ruled by the Hamas Islamic movement, has maintained a low infection rate for weeks. The strip has around 22,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine, mostly donated by the United Arab Emirates.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Palestinian territories (Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem) have reported over 223,000 cases and 2,365 deaths. EFE-EPA


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