The Fight Against COVID-19 in the Palestinian Authority (PA) (Updated to June 14, 2020)

Activities of the security forces and medical teams in the Hebron district after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Hebron district governor, June 13, 2020).

Activities of the security forces and medical teams in the Hebron district after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Hebron district governor, June 13, 2020).

Activities of the security forces and medical teams in the Hebron district after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Hebron district governor, June 13, 2020).

Activities of the security forces and medical teams in the Hebron district after a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Hebron district governor, June 13, 2020).

Teams of workers sent by the Dhahariya municipality disinfect rooms in school buildings where matriculation exams will be held (Facebook page of the Dhahariya municipality, June 11, 2020)

Teams of workers sent by the Dhahariya municipality disinfect rooms in school buildings where matriculation exams will be held (Facebook page of the Dhahariya municipality, June 11, 2020)

The governor of the Hebron district meets in Dhahariya with the head of the local municipality, the heads of the various security forces and Fatah representatives following the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Dhahariya municipality, June 9, 2020).

The governor of the Hebron district meets in Dhahariya with the head of the local municipality, the heads of the various security forces and Fatah representatives following the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases (Facebook page of the Dhahariya municipality, June 9, 2020).

Bethlehem government Kamal Hamid meets with imams of his district (Facebook page of Kamal Hamid, June 11, 2020).

Bethlehem government Kamal Hamid meets with imams of his district (Facebook page of Kamal Hamid, June 11, 2020).

Bethlehem government Kamal Hamid meets with imams of his district (Facebook page of Kamal Hamid, June 11, 2020).

Bethlehem government Kamal Hamid meets with imams of his district (Facebook page of Kamal Hamid, June 11, 2020).

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Chinese medical delegation in Ramallah (Wafa, June 11, 2020).

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Chinese medical delegation in Ramallah (Wafa, June 11, 2020).

Overview
  • Since last week the number of reported active cases of COVID-19 in Judea and Samaria has risen to 48, with 18 active cases detected (as of June 14, 2019). In the Hebron district the upward trend continued and there are 26 active cases. In east Jerusalem the number of active cases is reportedly 27.
  • So far the PA’s fight against COVID-19 has been successful and there has been no significant spread of the disease. However, given the upward trend of the infection in various districts, their governors have declared pinpointed preventive measures for short periods of time.
  • The PA is planning to airlift Palestinian residents, among them and students, stranded in various countries because of the closing of borders. The airlift will begin in Egypt and the returning Palestinians will be transferred to the PA through Jordan.
  • A delegation of Chinese medical specialists arrived in Judea and Samaria on June 10, 2020, to help the PA fight COVID-19, bringing the expertise they gained while fighting the disease in China. They will remain in the PA for about a week.
Extent of the Infection
Overview

This past week 18 COVID-19 cases were detected in Judea and Samaria. The number of reported cases is 420, up from 402. Of them, 48 are active cases (up from 38 last week). The Hebron district continues to have the greatest amount of infection, with 26 reported active cases (reports from the Palestinian ministry of health, updated to June 14, 2020).

  • Between the outbreak of coronavirus and June 14, 2020, 66,468 tests were conducted in Judea and Samaria. There are 1,831 Palestinians in isolation, after having come in contact with a verified COVID-19 patient or having entered Judea and Samaria from abroad. So far 96,150 Palestinians have been quarantined (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 9-14, 2020).
The number of reported active COVID-19 cases in the PA territories

The number of reported active COVID-19 cases in the PA territories

The overall reported number of COVID-19 in the PA since the outbreak of the virus

The overall reported number of COVID-19 in the PA since the outbreak of the virus

Geographical Distribution of the Active Cases
  • Of the 48 reported active cases in Judea and Samaria (as of June 14, 2020), 26 are in the Hebron district, 16 in the Qalqilya district, four in the Jenin district and two in the Jericho district. The patient from a village near Jerusalem recovered and the area is now considered coronavirus-free. As a preventive measure in the districts where active cases were detected, the governors have imposed lockdowns on the infected towns and villages and the local residents have been tested. However, the lockdown is generally pinpointed and for short periods of time. The degree of the measures’ effectiveness is unclear.
The Hebron district
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the Hebron district is trending upward, and there are 26 reported active cases (as of June 14, 2020). Since March 2020, 102 cases have been reported in the district.
  • Following the detection of four COVID-19 patients in the villages of Samua (south of Hebron) and al-Kom (west of Hebron), on June 11, 2020, Jibrin al-Bakri, the Hebron district governor, ordered the closing of public places in both locations. Thus the mosques, reception venues, mourning tents and clan hosting rooms were closed. Two days later, on June 13, 2020, after no new cases had been detected in either village, the governor reopened the public facilities (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, June 11, 12 and 13, 2020).
  • After seven COVID-19 cases were reported in the town of Dhahariya on June 9, 2020, the district governor decided to close the mosques, reception venues, coffee houses and mourning tents, and to ban weddings (Facebook page of the Hebron district governor, June 9, 2020). On June 11, 2020, the governor announced daily life would return to normal with the necessary precautionary measures in place. He said teams from the ministry of health would continue to test local residents for coronavirus (al-Wataniya, June 11, 2020).
  • Rateb al-Sabar, Dhahariya mayor, called on the local residents to take precautionary measures against coronavirus. He called on storeowners to ensure preventive measures were taken in their places of business, including the use of masks and gloves. Regarding matriculation exams, he said they would be held and students would not be adversely affected (Facebook page of the Dhahariya local council, June 9, 2020).
Rate of the spread of COVID-19 in Hebron

Rate of the spread of COVID-19 in Hebron

Qalqilya district
  • There are 16 reported active cases in the Qalqilya district. Rafi’ Rawajba, governor of the Qalqilya district, said contact-tracing of the known cases had not detected any new infection. He therefore announced the reopening of the mosques, reception venues and coffee houses in the villages where coronavirus infection had previously been detected. He said that so far teams from the ministry of health had conducted 3,035 tests in the district and that the condition of the COVID-19 patients was stable (Facebook page of the Qalqilya district, June 11, 2020).
Jericho district
  • As of June 13, 2020, there were two reported active cases in the Jericho district. On June 10, 2020, Jihad Abu al-Assel, the governor of the Jericho district, ordered the closing of a number of businesses and daycare centers, and instructed local residents to avoid gathering in public places. He also banned parties and weddings, and the erecting of mourning tents (Facebook page of the governor of the Jericho district, June 10, 2020).
Bethlehem district
  • Despite the fact that no new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Bethlehem district and the district is considered coronavirus-free, the leaders of the district (which was the first to report an incidence of the virus) are still taking preventive measures. On June 11, 2020, the day before the Friday prayers, Kamal Hamid, governor of the Bethlehem district, met with the imams of the district mosques to inform them of the procedures necessary for holding prayers in the mosques (Facebook page of the governor of the Bethlehem district, June 11, 2020). Thus on Friday, in accordance with the governor’s instructions, the Palestinian security forces distributed masks and gloves to all Palestinians who came to the mosques. In addition, security force operatives sanitized worshippers’ hands and stressed the necessary precautionary measures (PNN website, June 12, 2020).
Palestinian security forces distribute masks and gloves to worshippers who went to the mosques to pray on Friday (PNN website, June 12, 2020).    Palestinian security forces distribute masks and gloves to worshippers who went to the mosques to pray on Friday (PNN website, June 12, 2020).
Palestinian security forces distribute masks and gloves to worshippers who went to the mosques to pray on Friday (PNN website, June 12, 2020).
East Jerusalem neighborhoods
  • Five new COVID-19 cases were reported in east Jerusalem, bringing the number of active cases in east Jerusalem to 27 (22 last week). Since the outbreak of the coronavirus 184 cases have been detected in east Jerusalem (179 last week).
The number of reported active cases of COVID-19 in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods

The number of reported active cases of COVID-19 in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods

The overall number of reported COVID-19 cases in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods since the outbreak of the virus

The overall number of reported COVID-19 cases in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods since the outbreak of the virus

Palestinians Stranded in Other Countries
  • The Palestinian foreign ministry announced the beginning of “Operation return of the loved ones” to airlift Palestinian residents, among them students, stranded in foreign countries, unable to leave because borders have been closed and flights cancelled. According to the foreign ministry the operation will begin by returning Palestinians from Egypt, based on Jordan’s decision to open its airports and borders beginning on June 21-22, 2020. According to the plan, every day a plane from Egypt carrying 160 Palestinians will land at a Jordanian airport. They will immediately be transported to the Allenby Bridge and from there to PA territory. The PA’s crossings and borders authority will receive them, and they will be subject to the instructions and procedures of the ministry of health. Two planes from Turkey will also land (Wafa, June 14, 2020).
  • Riyad al-Maliki, Palestinian foreign minister, said there are more than 1,500 Palestinians stranded in Egypt. According to Ahmed al-Dayak, advisor to the minister, 6,355 Palestinians, among them students, are stranded in various countries, 5,304 from the West Bank and Jerusalem, 955 from the Gaza Strip (Wafa, June 10, 2020).
Foreign Aid for the PA
Delegation of Chinese medical specialists
  • A delegation of Chinese medical specialists arrived in Judea and Samaria on June 10, 2020, to help the PA fight the coronavirus, bringing the experience they gained fighting the disease in their own country. Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, received the members of the delegation in her office in Ramallah, accompanied by the Chinese ambassador to the PA. The delegation will remain in the PA for about a week (Wafa, the Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 11, 2020). According to PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, the delegation will meet with Palestinian medical teams and help them in the fight against the coronavirus (Facebook page of Muhammad Shtayyeh, June 11, 2020).
PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Chinese medical delegation in Ramallah (Wafa, June 11, 2020).     The Palestinian minister of health meets at her office with the delegation of Chinese doctors (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 1, 2020).
Right: The Palestinian minister of health meets at her office with the delegation of Chinese doctors (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 1, 2020). Left: PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh meets with the Chinese medical delegation in Ramallah (Wafa, June 11, 2020).
Other aid
  • On June 9, 2020, the Palestinian minister of health signed a $950,000 aid agreement with the al-Ta’awun institute.[1] The funds will be used to purchase ventilators and medical equipment (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 9, 2020).

The Palestinian minister of health receives aid from the al-Ta'awun institute (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 9, 2020).
The Palestinian minister of health receives aid from the al-Ta’awun institute
(Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 9, 2020).

  • On June 9, 2020, the Palestinian ministry of health formally took receipt of a donation of commercial vehicle from the Palestinian Motor Company. The company also donated medical equipment to the ministry, including face masks and protective suits (Facebook page of the Palestinian ministry of health, June 9, 2020).

[1] Al-Ta'wun is a Palestinian charitable fund established in 1983 by Palestinian businessmen. It operates in the PA territories and abroad, with head offices in Ramallah. It is supported by Palestinian businessmen, private companies, and international organizations such as UNRWA, UNICEF and the German GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – the German Company for International Collaboration).