PA ‘Cautiously’ Reopening Major Sectors in West Bank
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced the reopening of factories and businesses, as well as mosques and churches, in the West Bank, citing a drop in infection rates from the coronavirus. The time has come, he said on Tuesday, to “cautiously return life to normal.” The move will take effect on Tuesday, the final day of Eid el-Fitr, a joyous holiday that caps the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and which so far has been largely subdued owing to closures. Government offices, Shtayyeh said, will reopen on Wednesday. A general lockdown has been in place in the West Bank since March 5, just after the first cases of the coronavirus were noted in the city of Bethlehem. The PA’s Health Ministry says that as of Tuesday, there have been 423 confirmed cases in total, with two deaths. A slight relaxation in the shutdown order came last week, although much of it was rescinded after a spike in new cases was noted. Shtayyeh added that roadblocks would now be more lenient with intercity traffic, which has largely been cut off as part of the pandemic precautions.