Israelis Banned From Area B of West Bank as COVID-19 Cases Spike Among Israeli Arabs
The latest COVID-19 information and statistics for the Middle East and North Africa
Israel on Thursday began enforcing a monthlong ban on citizens entering Area B of the region referred to by the international community as the West Bank and by the Israeli government as Judea and Samaria.
The order issued by the IDF Central Command under coronavirus emergency regulations is an attempt to slow down a rise in COVID-19 cases among Israeli Arabs, many of whom visit Palestinian areas of the West Bank, including Area B, which the 1995 Oslo II Accord stipulates as being under Palestinian Authority civilian control and Israeli security control.
Israelis are already banned from entering Area A, which is under Palestinian Authority civilian and security control. Area B comprises about 22% of the West Bank, and Area A, about 18%.
Israeli Arabs accounted for just 7% of the country’s coronavirus cases in early October. But since then, the number infections has risen dramatically, with around 38% of current coronavirus patients being from Israeli Arab cities and towns, the Arab Emergency Commission reported on Monday.
As of Friday morning, the total number of coronavirus cases in Israel stood at 322,159, with 2,706 deaths and 310,605 recoveries, according to Worldometer.
Israel is in advanced talks with Pfizer Inc. over procuring doses of the US-based pharmaceutical giant’s coronavirus vaccine candidate that was recently found to have a 90% success rate in Phase III clinical trials.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was on the phone with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Wednesday and again on Thursday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that an agreement would be signed between Israel and Pfizer “in the coming days.”
Israeli officials also said that Pfizer was likely to earmark 3 million COVID-19 vaccines for Israel.
In June, Israel signed a contract with US biotech firm Moderna, which is also developing a coronavirus vaccine.
Moderna announced on Wednesday that its vaccine candidate could receive emergency use approval in December.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 7:00 UTC on Friday.
|Country||Confirmed cases||Deaths||Recovered||Active Cases|
|United Arab Emirates||146,735||523||141,215||4,997|