Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend the state of emergency throughout the Palestinian Territories through June 3 due to COVID-19 activity.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Palestinian Territories
  • Gaza City

This alert began 04 May 2020 22:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Territorywide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least June 3
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas extended the Palestinian Territories' state of emergency from May 5 for a period of 30 days as part of his administration's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will now remain in effect through at least June 3.

Palestinian authorities previously announced restrictions on the movement of residents in all governorates, which remains in effect until further notice. Residents are restricted to movement within their communities to perform essential tasks between the hours of 1000-1700 daily. Residents may not leave their homes outside of this time frame except to work in vital sectors, such as health services or other critical infrastructure. All nonessential businesses and government agencies have closed. Travel between governorates is banned. Security forces have deployed in cities throughout the territories to enforce these measures.

Authorities in the West Bank previously barred tourists from entering and prohibited hotels from receiving foreigners. Educational institutions, places of worship, entertainment venues, and holy sites have closed in the West Bank. Authorities also canceled major sporting events and other large gatherings.

Gazan authorities have reopened restaurants in the Gaza Strip for the month of Ramadan as of April 27. Officials previously closed restaurants to curb the spread of COVID-19. The establishments, however, must maintain precautionary measures such as high levels of hygiene and safe social distancing.

On April 17, Egyptian authorities resumed the closure of the Gazan-Egyptian Rafah border crossing. Egypt temporarily opened the border to allow hundreds of Palestinians to return to Gaza April 13. All returnees are subject to a 21-day quarantine period.

Background and Analysis
The Palestinian Territories' travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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