West Bank reports record Covid-19 figures as fresh lockdown enforced

Jerusalem, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Palestinian authorities in the West Bank on Monday registered record levels of Covid-19 infections as a new lockdown came into force with hospitals running at full capacity.

The health ministry reported 2,123 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, which confirmed to Efe that it was the highest daily toll since the pandemic reached the West Bank.

The Palestinian National Authority, which governs the territory of around three million people, on Monday enforced a total lockdown for at least five days in a bid to stem the growing infections rates. It came as hospitals in the territory registered over 100% occupancy rates this weekend.

From this morning, all weddings, funerals, meetings and celebrations are prohibited, as is travel between towns and cities.

The health ministry had warned that some sectors of the public were failing to comply with the existing measures, which, in combination with the spread of virulent new coronavirus variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa, prompted a spike in cases.

There are over 19,000 active Covid-19 cases in the West Bank, 181 of which are patients requiring intensive care. A total of 53 people are currently connected to respirators, according to the latest data.

While coronavirus infection rates run out of control in the West Bank, the vaccination rollout has hit a hurdle. Authorities have administered over 90% of the 9,800 doses they have received so far.

In the coming days, the territory is due to get 20,000 doses from the United Arab Emirates, 37,000 via the World Health Organizations’ Covax mechanism and 100,000 doses of Sinopharm donated by China.

Things are starkly different in Israel, which has one of the most advanced rollouts in the world.

Around 55% of Israeli citizens have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the country is speeding towards a return to normality.

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