Palestinian Authority Extends State of Emergency over Coronavirus
A volunteer stands at one of the entrances to the West Bank city of Sinjil, checking and sanitizing cars in mid-April amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Mohammed Ghafary)

Palestinian Authority Extends State of Emergency over Coronavirus

With others, including neighboring Israel, beginning to reopen businesses and schools, as well as easing some restrictions on human contact in light of downward trends in the spread of coronavirus, the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday announced it was extending its state of emergency for another month. The PA has given some businesses the green light to reopen since the clampdown was imposed on March 5, and on Sunday began allowing laborers to leave for their jobs in Israel, two moves seen as a bid to stave off further declines in an already tottering economy. Yet it is keeping schools and mosques firmly shut, and still banning all social gatherings and inter-area movement until at least June 5, according to the PA-affiliated Wafa news agency. Health authorities have reported just under 350 coronavirus infections and two deaths in the West Bank, which saw its first cases at the beginning of March, apparently as a result of contact with tourists from Greece. The Gaza Strip, nominally considered part of the PA but run by the Islamist group Hamas, has reported 17 cases but no deaths. The two areas have a combined population estimated at over 5 million.

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