The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (updated to August 17, 2020)

Disinfection campaign in Durra (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 10, 2020)

Disinfection campaign in Durra (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 10, 2020)

The medical centers which were opened (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 9, 2020)

The medical centers which were opened (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 9, 2020)

The medical centers which were opened (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 9, 2020)

The medical centers which were opened (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 9, 2020)

Disinfection campaign in the village of Nahalin (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 12, 2020).

Disinfection campaign in the village of Nahalin (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 12, 2020).

The district governor meeting with imams (Facebook page of the governor of the Jenin district, August 13, 2020)

The district governor meeting with imams (Facebook page of the governor of the Jenin district, August 13, 2020)

The district governor meeting with imams (Facebook page of the governor of the Jenin district, August 13, 2020)

The district governor meeting with imams (Facebook page of the governor of the Jenin district, August 13, 2020)

Palestinians entering Israel through a gate in the security fence in Shawika, north of Tulkarm (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 11, 2020)

Palestinians entering Israel through a gate in the security fence in Shawika, north of Tulkarm (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 11, 2020)

Announcement on the cancellation of the organized transportation scheduled for August 14 to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israeli cities due to the closure of breaches in the fence (DahytFrwon Facebook page, August 13, 2020)

Announcement on the cancellation of the organized transportation scheduled for August 14 to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Israeli cities due to the closure of breaches in the fence (DahytFrwon Facebook page, August 13, 2020)

The Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2020)

The Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2020)

Overview

This week, there has been a certain increase in the number of cases detected In the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories. However, the trend towards flattening the COVID-19 curve has continued (see graph). This past week, 2,324 new cases were detected (compared to 1,917 last week). According to the PA Ministry of Health, there are currently 6,572 active COVID-19 cases (as at August 16, 2020);[1] 4,111 in the Hebron district, about 62.5% of the total number. Of the active cases, 26 patients are in ICUs and five are on ventilators. As at August 17, 2020, there have been 113 deaths, up from 99 last week. In the Gaza Strip, two new cases were detected among Palestinians who arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing, which was opened this week for three days. There are now 11 active COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip (as at August 17, 2020).

  • East Jerusalem neighborhoods continue to stand out in the number of active cases with a potential for mutual infection of the western and eastern neighborhoods. The number of active cases in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods stands at 1,870 (according to PA reports). The number of active cases in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods accounts for about 28.5% of the total number of active cases in Judea and Samaria. However, in the ITIC’s assessment, in practice, the number is much higher due to many non-reported cases. The total number of cases since the outbreak of COVID-19 in East Jerusalem stands at 5,401 cases (Facebook page of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, August 10-16, 2020).
  • The opening of the school year in the high schools in Judaea and Samaria (August 9, 2020) led to about many new cases among students and staff. Schools in the various districts where new cases were discovered were closed and teachers and students were sent to self-isolation. Nevertheless, elementary school students are expected to resume their studies on September 6, 2020, under various restrictions (announced by the PA Ministry of Education). Other sites of infection are weddings, mourning tents, and various kinds of public gathering. The PA banned such events, but in several instances residents did not follow the orders.
The spread of COVID-19 infection in Judea and Samaria
(since late July 2020)

The spread of COVID-19 infection in Judea and Samaria (since late July 2020)

The Spread of COVID-19 in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip
  • The following are the main COVID-19 developments in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip this past week:
    • The Hebron district, the district of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, the villages around East Jerusalem and East Jerusalem itself continue as the main epicenters. This week, the district of Ramallah and Al-Bireh was the district with the second highest number of active cases. A two-digit number of new cases was reported every day in the district, with no patients who have recovered.
    • There has been a decrease in the number of ICU patients and those who are on ventilators. A total of 26 active patients are hospitalized in ICUs, five of them on ventilators. The number of fatalities rose to 113. A few children are among the deceased.
    • On August 12, 2020, the PA government published a series of new decisions intended to advance the Palestinian economy. In spite of the lifting of certain restrictions, several bans remained, particularly the ban on gathering.
    • The Gaza Strip administration continues to control morbidity. There are currently 11 active cases in the Gaza Strip, all of them Palestinians who entered the Gaza Strip. During the past week, about 1,800 residents entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing. Authorities in the Gaza Strip pointed out the difficulty in receiving so many residents, some of whom presumably carry the virus. All the returning residents were sent to isolation centers for 21 days.
Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 Epicenters
Overview
  • The distribution of active cases in the PA (6,572) by district is as follows: Hebron, 4,111; Bethlehem, 421; Nablus, 288; Ramallah-Al-Bireh, 797; the villages around Jerusalem, 603; Tulkarm, 136; Jericho, 125; Qalqilya, 217; Jenin, 35, Salfit, 10; and Tubas, 8.
Distribution of active COVID-19 cases by district

Distribution of active COVID-19 cases by district

Hebron district

The trend towards flattening the COVID-19 curve has continued in the Hebron district. The number of active cases in the district currently stands at 4,111, compared to 4,095 a week ago (as at August 16, 2020). The Hebron district now accounts for 62.5% of the active COVID-19 cases in the PA territories, compared to 66% a week ago. According to Dr. Afif Atawneh, head of the Health Department in south Hebron, the percentage of new cases every day in the district is 20%-25% of the total tests performed. He notes that this is a very high percentage. According to Dr. Atawneh, the total number of patients in the district has reached 9,500, about 65% of whom have already recovered (Dunya Al-Watan, August 12, 2020).

Extent of the spread of COVID-19 in the Hebron district
  • The governor of the Hebron district has ordered the closure of several high-morbidity sites in the district: two schools in Al-Aroub; two grades at the girls high school in Beit Omar; several official institutions, including the court and the prosecutor’s office, the Labor Department in Hebron, and the Interior Ministry’s branch in south Hebron (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 11, 15, 2020).
Disinfection campaign in Durra (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 10, 2020)     Disinfection campaign in Durra (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 10, 2020)
Disinfection campaign in Durra (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense, August 10, 2020)
  • The security services detained four people suspected of rioting in the government hospital in Durra and attacking a nurse at the site. The hospital director said that a COVID-19 patient in his seventies from Beit Awa died at the hospital, and members of his family rioted and broke a ventilator (Al-Hadath, August 10, 2020; Maan, August 11, 2020). The PA government denounced the rioting at the hospital and noted that those responsible would be brought to justice (WAFA, August 10, 2020).
Results of the rioting at the hospital (Al-Hadath, August 10, 2020)       The nurse who was attacked.
Right: The nurse who was attacked. Left: Results of the rioting at the hospital
(Al-Hadath, August 10, 2020)
  • Authorities in Hebron continue preparations in advance of an increase in morbidity:
    • The governor of the Hebron district and the CEO of the Palestinian branch of the International WAFAA Group[2] opened nine medical centers equipped for treating COVID-19 patients. They are intended to provide first aid to patients and relieve the pressure on government hospitals. These centers are supposed to treat COVID-19 patients whose condition is mild to moderate (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 9, 2020).
    • The governor of the Hebron district presented the director of the Alyah Hospital with three ventilators and the director of the Durra Hospital with two ventilators, donated by the Palestinian community in Turkey and the UAE (Facebook page of the governor of the Hebron district, August 11, 2020; Dunya Al-Watan, August 12, 2020).
Bethlehem district

This week, there has been an increase in the number of patients in the Bethlehem district. It has currently 421 active cases (compared to 321 last week). Kamel Hamid, the district governor, announced a lockdown on the village of Nahalin, which is a high-morbidity site (Maan, August 13, 2020). The district Education Department decided to close the schools in Nahalin after a student was diagnosed with COVID-19 (WAFA, August 15, 2020).

  • On August 12, 2020, it was decided to close the Sharia court in Bethlehem after the Sharia judge was infected with COVID-19. In addition, the Bethlehem Traffic Department was closed after the wife of one of the employees contracted the virus (WAFA, August 12, 2020).
Nablus district

This week, 288 active cases were detected in the Nablus district, compared to 205 last week. The Education Department in Nablus closed a girls high school after it was found that one of the students contracted the virus. The students and staff were sent to self-isolation (Facebook page of the Nablus Education Department, August 10, 2020).

  • The governor of the Nablus district announced a lockdown on the village of Al-Lubban al-Sharqiya south of Nablus, after detecting 85 COVID-19 patients there who came in contact with many residents (Facebook page of the governor of the Nablus district, August 15, 2020). According to Abdallah Kamil, the governor of the nearby Salfit district, 91 active COVID-19 cases were detected in only 150 samples in Al-Lubban al-Sharqiya. According to him, the number of active cases in the village may exceed 1,000 if those who came in contact with them are to be considered. The governor of the Nablus district believes that most of the infection was caused in the many weddings taking place in Al-Lubban al-Sharqiya. According to him, 100 patients from the village took part in 10 weddings, and dozens of women in the village who were infected with COVID-19 took part in over 15 events and weddings (Facebook page of the governor of the Salfit district, August 15, 2020).
Ramallah district

This week, there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Ramallah district. A total of 797 active cases were detected in the district, compared to 516 last week. Due to that, it was decided to impose lockdowns on high-morbidity sites.

  • The Transport and Communications Ministry announced that its central headquarters in the district would be closed for 48 hours after two officials in the headquarters were diagnosed with COVID-19 (Facebook page of the PA Transport Ministry, August 15, 2020; WAFA, August 16, 2020). The district governor ordered to impose a lockdown on a village north of Ramallah, after 14 new patients had been detected there (Facebook page of the governor of the Ramallah and Al-Bireh district, August 13, 2020).
  • The Ramallah police prevented the celebration of a wedding in a function hall in Ramallah. Police closed the hall because it violated government decisions banning weddings. Three of the function hall owners were detained (Palestinian police website, August 14, 2020).
Jenin district

This week, there has been a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Jenin district. A total of 35 active cases were detected in the district, compared to 97 last week. In spite of the decrease, the authorities continue to maintain the health safety regulations. The Qabatiya Education Department and the Jenin Health Department announced the closing of the high school in Arabeh and sent the students and staff to self-isolation after a student was diagnosed with COVID-19 (WAFA, August 10, 2020).

  • Akram Rajoub, the governor of the Jenin district, and the PA deputy minister of religious endowments, met with imams and employees in the Department of Religious Endowments in the district and reiterated the procedures of prayer in the mosques. Rajoub stressed that people should be strict about wearing masks, using their own prayer rugs, maintaining distance during prayers, and holding the Friday prayers outdoors (Facebook page of the governor of the Jenin district, August 13, 2020).
Tulkarm district

In the Tulkarm district, there has been a significant increase in the number of verified cases. This week, 136 active cases were detected, compared to 67 last week. Issam Abu Bakr, the governor of the Tulkarm district, announced the imposition of a lockdown on the village of Atil (Facebook page of the governor of the Tulkarm district, August 14, 2020). A force of the special police and security services which arrived in Atil to enforce the governor’s decision arrived at a wedding held in violation of the procedures and decided to close it. The people there did not obey and some of them attacked the police force. The force reacted with stun grenades and tear gas grenades. Seven people were detained, including the groom and his father (Palestinian police website, August 15, 2020).

Qalqilya district

In the Qalqilya district, there has been a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. This week, 217 active cases were detected in the district, compared to 94 last week. In view of that, the district governor’s office announced its decision to ban weddings and any forms of gathering and celebration, which were the main cause for the spread of the pandemic in the district. The security services were instructed to enforce the decision and take harsh measures against those who violate the law (Facebook page of the governor of the Qalqilya district, August 13, 2020).

  • Following the discovery of active cases in the Interior Ministry’s branch, the governor’s office ordered the closure of the building to make sure that none of the officials had contracted the virus. The announcement also stressed that visitors were not allowed to enter the official institutions without a mask. In addition, it was decided to close several schools after patients had been detected there (Facebook page of the governor of the Qalqilya district, August 12, 15, 2020).
Villages around Jerusalem

In the villages around Jerusalem, a total of 603 active cases were detected this week, compared to 703 last week. The Public Health Committee in the PA Jerusalem district, in collaboration with the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Al-Sawahrah municipality carried out disinfection in the girls high school in Al-Sawahra after a teacher was diagnosed with COVID-19 (Facebook page on COVID-19 in the PA Jerusalem district, August 15, 2020).

Disinfection campaign in Abu Dis following the rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in the village (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense (August 11, 2020)     Disinfection of the high school in Al-Sawahra (Facebook page on COVID-19 in the PA Jerusalem district, August 15, 2020).
Right: Disinfection of the high school in Al-Sawahra (Facebook page on COVID-19 in the PA Jerusalem district, August 15, 2020). Left: Disinfection campaign in Abu Dis following the rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in the village (Facebook page of the Palestinian Civil Defense (August 11, 2020)
East Jerusalem

According to PA reports, the number of active cases in East Jerusalem is 1,870 (compared to 2,106 last week). This report ostensibly indicates a stabilization in morbidity in East Jerusalem, but it must be taken into account that the number of patients is much higher.

Number of active cases in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods
(since mid-July 2020)

Number of active cases in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods (since mid-July 2020)

Total number of COVID-19 patients in East Jerusalem
(since the beginning of July 2020)

Total number of COVID-19 patients in East Jerusalem (since the beginning of July 2020)

Kafr ‘Aqab as a potential for mutual contagion[3]
  • An article about the spread of the disease in Kafr ‘Aqab was published in the Israeli media, which included an interview with Samih Abu Ramila, a social activist who heads the local emergency committee to fight COVID-19. Following are the main points that he made (Nadav Shragai, Israel Today, August 14, 2020):
    • The prevailing reality in Kafr ‘Aqab in the context of COVID-19 is “complete lawlessness.” According to the official data, there are over 125 cases, but there are actually at least 600.
    • The residents of Kafr ‘Aqab are undisciplined because they have become accustomed to the fact that there is no supervision or enforcement whatsoever in the village. There is no supervision of construction, there is neglect when it comes to cleaning, criminal activity is not dealt with, “and now this has been joined by COVID-19 as well.”
    • People in the neighborhood do not wear masks, social distancing is not maintained, and mass events such as weddings and mourning tents take place. For example, on Friday (August 7, 2020) there was a wedding with over 500 guests.
    • Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients continue to move around in public, with or without a mask. “Positive patients go shopping, go to the mosque and meet friends. It’s a bizarre reality, but no one really cares about what is happening here.”
    • Schools have been closed since March and 18,000 students are either at home or in the streets.
    • According to Abu Ramila, the problem in Kafr ‘Aqab also has a political aspect: “In the first wave, Israel allowed the PA to enter the Israeli village of Kafr ‘Aqab, where the vast majority of residents live, and carry out minimal activity there, but in the second wave Israel no longer does so. The Israeli side is not enthusiastic, to say the least, about the PA becoming the authority, even on COVID-19 matters, within the municipal area of Jerusalem. On the other hand, the Israeli side is virtually absent there when it comes to enforcement and monitoring. “When the Ministry of Health or other Israeli authorities show themselves there, part of the population, most of which is uneducated and disadvantaged, treats them as an enemy, despite the fact that this is a clear health issue.”

The most painful issue, according to Abu Ramila, is going to work. “Of course, no one wants to harm the livelihoods of about 30,000 Kafr ‘Aqab residents who work in West Jerusalem, and the livelihoods of about 10,000 who work in the Ramallah area, but it is also clear that we are exporting COVID-19 from here in both directions. There is no real supervision of those who leave here to go to work. There is no enforcement. There is no registration. The catastrophe is on the way.”

Samih Abu Ramila, chairman of the emergency committee to fight COVID-19 (Right: Raya FM Facebook page, May 24, 2020; Left: YouTube, April 15, 2020)    Samih Abu Ramila, chairman of the emergency committee to fight COVID-19 (Right: Raya FM Facebook page, May 24, 2020; Left: YouTube, April 15, 2020)
Samih Abu Ramila, chairman of the emergency committee to fight COVID-19 (Right: Raya FM Facebook page, May 24, 2020; Left: YouTube, April 15, 2020)
Preventive measures taken by the PA
  • PA Government Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem announced a series of new steps to be taken entitled “Living in the Shadow of COVID-19” (Wafa News Agency, August 12, 2020):
    • Friday prayers can be held in public and open areas in compliance with the health procedures (following this, the Ministry of Endowments issued an order limiting Friday prayers to no longer than 15 minutes).
    • Commercial establishments and economic institutions can be opened on weekends in compliance with the health procedures.
    • Israeli Arabs are asked to refrain from visiting the West Bank in the near future in view of the sharp increase in the number of active cases in Israel.
    • It is forbidden to erect mourning tents and open function halls and it is forbidden to hold any kind of gathering.
    • Supervision of health guidelines will be increased. The district governors will be responsible for outlining the policy in the districts.
    • Local lockdowns will be imposed on areas with a high proportion of patients. The district governors will be responsible for imposing these lockdowns.
  • Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kayla said that the new decisions were based on the fact that the virus has spread to many districts, and it is now difficult to identify active cases. According to her, when the spread of the virus is high, the lockdown policy no longer works. At the same time, she noted that emphasis was placed on preventing gatherings, not holding weddings in halls, etc., because at these gatherings there is a great potential for infection and they are incubators for transmitting the virus (Dunya al-Watan, August 13, 2020)
Supplying medical equipment and obtaining vaccines
  • The Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC) announced that it had supplied the PA Health Ministry with six fully-equipped ambulances with the support of the Steadfastness Foundation (Al-Quds, August 13, 2020). The Foundation also sent $1,300,000 worth of equipment. According to Foundation Chairman Talal Nasser al-Din, the total value of the aid sent to the Health Ministry is $1,600,000 (Dunya al-Watan, August 12, 2020).
  • The PA is now attempting to obtain vaccines for the virus. In this regard, it has contacted Russia and China. According to Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kayla, they also registered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to receive the vaccine (Wafa News Agency; Dunya al-Watan, August 13, 2020). At the same time, Minister Al-Kayla spoke with the Russian ambassador to the PA about the possibility of obtaining vaccines developed by Russia (Wafa News Agency, August 13, 2020).
Entry of Palestinians into Israel
  • On August 11, 2020, it was reported on social media that the IDF had closed the breach in the security fence in Kafr Far’un, through which thousands of Palestinians entered Israeli territory during Eid al-Adha (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 11, 2020; DahytFrwon Facebook page, August 11, 2020).
Palestinians entering Israel through a gate in the security fence in Shawika, north of Tulkarm (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 11, 2020)  Repairing the breach in Kafr Far’un (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 12, 2020)
Right: Repairing the breach in Kafr Far’un (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 12, 2020); Left: Palestinians entering Israel through a gate in the security fence in Shawika, north of Tulkarm (Al-Fajr TV Facebook page, August 11, 2020)
  • Fakhr al-Rantisi, who reports regularly on the state of breaches in the security fence, reported that although the IDF had closed two breaches in the fence in Shawika and Kafr Far’un, there were still many breaches in various areas throughout the West Bank (Ultra Palestine website, August 11, 2020).
Opening of the school year

On August 9, 2020, high school students returned to school. Following their return, many cases of COVID-19 among students and staff were reported, resulting in the closure of schools. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Culture announced that the school year at elementary schools would open on September 6, 2020, and students would return to school under various restrictions.

  • Ihab Shukri, head of the Health Department at the Ministry of Education and Culture, announced a series of guidelines for elementary school students, the main ones being: students will study on a three-day-a-week basis; Schools will undergo daily disinfection; Each class will have a capsule and students will sit by themselves one meter apart from each other; There will be two ten-minute recesses inside the classroom, and each class will go out into the yard once for 15 minutes; Cafeterias will serve only packaged foods; Temperatures will be checked daily; If cases are identified at school, the Ministry of Education will close only the grade in which the cases were identified and for a week only; Those who are forced to study remotely and do not have access to TV and the Internet will be provided with a package of activities and CDs so that they can continue their studies (Dunya al-Watan, August 13, 2020).
The Gaza Strip
Morbidity

The number of active cases in the Gaza Strip is now 11, after two new patients were identified who returned to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Crossing (SAWA; Dunya al-Watan, August 15, 2020). A total of 83 verified patients have been identified in the Gaza Strip, 71 of whom have recovered and have been discharged to their homes (Al-Resalah.net, August 14, 2020).

  • In the Gaza Strip, 14,613 COVID-19 tests have been performed to date (August 16, 2020). Of these tests, 14,530 were negative and 83 were positive (Dunya al-Watan, 16 August 2020). A total of 2,215 people are currently in 13 isolation centers throughout the Gaza Strip, including the Deir al-Balah quarantine center, which has 500 rooms, and the Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center (Dunya al-Watan, August 16, 2020).
The Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2020)     The Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2020)
The Khan Yunis Central Prison, which has been converted into an isolation center
(Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 2020)
Opening of the Rafah Crossing
  • Between August 11 and August 13, 2020, the Rafah Crossing was opened in both directions for the entry and exit of residents. Salama Marouf, chairman of the Gaza government media office, said that the Hamas administration was prepared to deal with the returnees even if their number exceeds 2,000. According to him, the administration has worked hard to enable the opening of the crossing in order to receive the residents who had been stuck in Egypt and elsewhere. He said that they would not hesitate to open the crossing for additional groups, even though they expect the number of cases in the Gaza Strip to increase. According to him, they are trying to achieve a balance between the return of the residents to the Gaza Strip and the responsibility for the health of the residents in the Gaza Strip (Al-Aqsa, August 12, 2020).
  • According to Amid (Brigadier General) Fouad Abu Batihan, head of the General Authority for Crossings and Borders at the Gaza Interior Ministry, during the days when the crossing was open, 1,841 people entered the Gaza Strip and 1,142 left it. According to him, all those who arrived underwent an initial medical examination at the crossing by the staff of the Health Ministry, and were sent to isolation centers for 21 days (website of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 14, 2020). According to an announcement by the General Authority for Crossings and Borders, the passengers’ luggage remains in the crossing for disinfection, and representatives will receive it only six days after their arrival in the Gaza Strip (website of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 15, 2020). Gaza Strip Interior Ministry Spokesman Iyad al-Buzum said that the closure of the crossing provided security for Gaza residents, and the return of residents from Egypt raises the risk level. Therefore, Gaza residents should exercise caution during this period and comply with the instructions (Al-Aqsa, August 11, 2020).
The activity at the Rafah Crossing (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 12 and 13, 2020)    The activity at the Rafah Crossing (Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 12 and 13, 2020)
The activity at the Rafah Crossing
(Twitter account of the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip, August 11, 12 and 13, 2020)
  • The Health Ministry and the Interior Ministry held a meeting to assess the activity at the Rafah Crossing. At the meeting, it was agreed to establish committees to assess the state of health of those at isolation centers and to work to address their needs. It was also agreed to set up additional isolation centers in light of the expected increase in the number of people entering the Gaza Strip. It was also decided to provide special services suitable for children at the isolation centers, such as games and various types of food. A psychological support service staffed by teams of experts was set up for those in isolation (Gaza Health Ministry website, August 14, 2020; Gaza Interior Ministry website, August 14, 2020).
  • Palestinians at the quarantine center that opened in the Asdaa Prison [in Khan Yunis] complained about the attitude of the operatives of the Hamas security service and about the conditions there. One of them, Tareq Dahlan, wrote on his Facebook page: We are among those put in today at the Asdaa Prison […] We are subject to threats, insults and verbal attacks from those in charge of the center because of our objection to there being five [people] in each room with a shared toilet and a fan […] Our objection stems from our desire to maintain social distancing […] We are not cattle or prisoners who deserve to be behind closed doors in a way that does not preserve our humanity […] The main Internet in the quarantine center was withheld from us until after entering the quarantine rooms and we were forbidden to eat and drink until after entering the quarantine room (Tareq Dahlan’s Facebook page, April 12, 2020). Another Palestinian wrote that his cellmate had asked for blood pressure medication. In response, the medical committee sent him an empty bag with the name of the medication written on it, and he was asked to bring it from the outside (Mahmoud Abu Sidu’s Facebook page, August 15, 2020).

  Tareq Dahlan’s room (Tareq Dahlan’s Facebook page, April 12, 2020)
Tareq Dahlan’s room (Tareq Dahlan’s Facebook page, April 12, 2020)

Photo published by Salah Ghabn from the isolation center with the caption: photo in the prison cell. Sorry, I mean quarantine (Salah Ghabn’s Facebook page, August 13, 2020)
Photo published by Salah Ghabn from the isolation center with the caption: photo in the prison cell. Sorry, I mean quarantine (Salah Ghabn’s Facebook page, August 13, 2020)

Aid for the Gaza Strip
  • The WHO has purchased and supplied 500,000 surgical masks, 250,000 gloves and 3,750 protective overalls to UNRWA, thanks to a donation from the Kuwaiti government (Facebook page of the representative office of the WHO in the territories, August 13, 2020).
  •   The WHO has provided the Gaza Strip health authorities with a new PCR device (GeneXpert)[4], which provides results of COVID-19 tests within 45 minutes, compared to a four-hour period until results are obtained on the four other PCR devices in the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of the representative office of the WHO in the territories, August 16, 2020).
Medical equipment sent to the Gaza Health Ministry by UNRWA (Facebook page of the representative office of the WHO in the territories, August 13 and 16, 2020)     Delivery of the test device.
Right: Delivery of the test device. Left: Medical equipment sent to the Gaza Health Ministry by UNRWA (Facebook page of the representative office of the WHO in the territories, August 13 and 16, 2020)

[1] Note: It should be taken into account that statistics from the PA Ministry of Health include recoveries but systematic information about their numbers is not provided.
[2] WAFA international group for capacity building and microfinance: A group of non-profit organizations established in 2009 in Indonesia. It has branches in Indonesia, Lebanon, Turkey, Austria, the United Kingdom and the PA.

[3] Following the report from last week and the ITIC document from August 3, 2020.

[4] A device that performs a molecular test to identify the unique genetic structure of COVID-19.