Warning Alert

Palestinian president extends coronavirus-related state of emergency in the West Bank through at least Nov. 2. Restrictions in effect.

Alert Begins 02 Oct 2020 11:13 PM UTC
Alert Expires 02 Nov 2020 11:59 PM UTC

 

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Territory-wide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

 

Summary
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has extended West Bank's state of emergency through at least Nov. 2 as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities are monitoring the epidemiological situation throughout the territory and will enact localized lockdowns on areas with increased disease activity. All social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, conferences, and graduation parties, remain banned throughout the West Bank until further notice. Border crossings with Israel remain closed.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) previously lifted some restrictions on business activity and gatherings in the West Bank. All businesses are permitted to operate on Fridays and Saturdays, provided they adhere to public health mandates issued by the Ministry of Health. Furthermore, Friday prayers are allowed in public squares, albeit with public health precautions, including mandatory protective face coverings and social distancing. Cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, and gyms can operate at 50-percent capacity. Businesses may operate from 0700-2359 daily unless authorities designate otherwise.

On Sept. 24, authorities in the Gaza Strip restricted movement in and out of the towns of Al-Amal and Sheikh Radwan until further notice due to increased COVID-19 activity. Authorities are continuing to restrict movement in and out of Jabalia and al-Turkman until further notice. The territory’s 24-hour curfew has been shortened to 2000-0700 in all governorates; however, the 24-hour curfew will remain in effect until further notice for several locations, including Al-Nasr and Al-Jadida, where infection rates remain high. Officials require individuals to wear protective face coverings and adhere to social-distancing precautions in public. Nonessential businesses, schools, mosques, and cafes throughout Gaza are closed during curfew hours. Officials are instructing residents to remain at home unless shopping for essential goods. Social gatherings are banned in all governorates. All travelers arriving in Gaza are required to quarantine at government-run facilities for 21 days. Border crossings with Israel remain closed.

Officials could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

 

Background and Analysis
The Palestinian Territories' travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments have been 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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