COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 5 (14-20 April 2020)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Situation Overview

As of 21 April, a total of 329 Palestinians are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 in the oPt, excluding East Jerusalem: 314 in the West Bank, and 15 in the Gaza Strip. Two people have died and 69 have recovered. A total of 22,800 samples have been processed, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH).

The first fatality in East Jerusalem, a 78-year-old woman from Al Issawiya, was recorded on 18 April: according to reports, still unconfirmed, a second woman died of the virus in Hadassah Hospital on the night of 20 April. The Palestinian MoH reported that as of 20 April, 120 Palestinians in East Jerusalem were detected positive. According to WHO, the situation in East Jerusalem regarding COVID-19 is being managed by the Israeli authorities and patients treated by the East Jerusalem Hospital Network (EJHN) and by Israeli hospitals.

Late on 20 April, Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, announced a series of relaxations to the State of Emergency that has been in force across the oPt since 5 March. While maintaining some movement restrictions and physical distancing, these relaxation measures are aimed to “ensure the gradual acceleration of the economic wheel in productive projects.” No date was given for the start of the relaxations, which could also be reverted, if “the spread of the virus is detected.”

In governorates with little or no infection recorded, including the Gaza Strip, “economic establishments that employ less than three workers, including agriculture, food, building workshops, garages, and individual professions, are allowed to work from 10 am to 5 pm,” while other establishments can open on Friday and Saturdays. In the more affected governorates, including Ramallah and Bethlehem, certain enterprises may open on “Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with no more than three people in each workplace.” All governorates will remain isolated from one another, “except for the movement of trade, agricultural and food commodities, and medicines.”

Mosques, churches and other public places will remain closed and celebrations, including Ramadan gatherings are prohibited. Places of education will also remain closed, but the final school exam, the Tawjihi, will take place on 30 May. There will also be a partial resumption of banks, insurance and the stock market.

Asserting that the majority of Palestinians who contracted COVID-19 are labourers in Israel or people who were exposed to them, “the movement of workers between their workplaces inside Israel and their homes is prohibited until further notice.” Working in settlements is also strictly prohibited.

Read the full report