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  • Health ministry urged Palestinians to stay at home, and for workers coming from inside Israel to quarantine for two weeks.

    Health ministry urged Palestinians to stay at home, and for workers coming from inside Israel to quarantine for two weeks. | Photo: EFE

Published 25 March 2020
Opinion

Palestine recorded its first coronavirus-related death, and two more cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 64.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Health has recorded Wednesday the first death due to the COVID-19 disease in the Palestinian occupied territories.

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A woman in her 60s from a village north of Jerusalem died in the Hugo Chavez hospital in the West Bank town of Turmsayya after testing positive in the morning. Her daughter and son-in-law also contracted the virus. 

The Ministry of Health spokesperson, Ibrahim Melhem, said that as of Wednesday evening, 64 people have tested positive for the virus in Palestinian territories.

Melhem said that the woman did not leave her village, and probably contracted Covid-19 from someone coming from outside. He added that her son is a worker inside Israel. 

The health ministry urged Palestinians to stay at home, and for workers coming from inside Israel to quarantine for two weeks.

Meanwhile, fears are rising in the Gaza Strip, where some two million Palestinians are struggling for 13 years now under an illegal Israeli siege.

Besides a critical shortage in medicine and protective equipment, Gaza has only 56 ventilators and 40 intensive care beds due to the blockade it endures. To put it in perspective, this represents two ICU beds per 100,000. In comparison, Germany has 29.2 beds per 100,000.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza called on the international community to pressure Israel to remove the blockade. 

Since the Jewish state imposed this siege, the health system in Gaza has been deteriorating. In June 2018, after Israeli soldiers killed 195 Palestinians and injured nearly 29,000 people on the Great March of Return, United Nations (UN) experts said that healthcare in Gaza was "at breaking point" due to the blockade, but also unnecessary cruelty.

During the 2014 war, hospitals such as Al-Aqsa in Deir al-Balah or al-Wafa in Shujaiyyeh were the target of shelling, while ambulances too were also deliberately targeted by Israel's bombs.

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