Under pressure to take a tougher stance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has ordered a strict lockdown on most of the West Bank because of the sharp spike in coronavirus cases.
With most hospitals at full capacity, the Palestinian Authority says it has no choice but to reimpose a tight closure on areas under its control.
Ghassan Nimr, a spokesman for the Palestinian Interior Ministry, told The Media Line that the steps are needed to contain the virus.
“The closure came as a result of the high number of infections. We ask the citizens to abide by the closure, and whoever violates it will expose themselves to legal accountability,” the spokesman said.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, home to a combined 5.2 million Palestinians, has received around 34,700 vaccine doses to date. Palestinians were outraged in early March when they learned that many of the vaccines went to President Mahmoud Abbas and top PA officials and their families, but the government has promised several times that additional vaccine shipments are on the way.
The PA concedes that previous steps to contain the pandemic didn’t achieve their goals, but it is hopeful that the current ones will.