On Saturday, June 20, the Palestinian authority announced that lockdowns would be imposed with immediate effect in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Nablus due to a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections. Hebron will be under a strict five-day curfew during which only pharmacies, grocery stores, and factories producing essential products will remain open. Similar measures will be imposed for 48 hours in Nablus, with people being urged to stay within 150m (492 ft) of their homes. During this period only vehicles carrying merchandise will be able to enter or exit the cities. The measures come after 108 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the West Bank on Saturday, 48 of which were in Hebron and 23 in Nablus. All social gatherings have been banned throughout the West Bank, with churches and mosques closed, and authorities have urged a temporary halt to worker movement.
As of June 20, 687 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the West Bank, with two associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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