4 Palestinian prisoners have coronavirus, says NGO

Palestinians gather for a demonstration to demand coronavirus (COVID-19) protection for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, in Gaza City (Ali Jadallah - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  March 20, 2020

The Palestinian Prisoner Society said yesterday that four Palestinian inmates have contracted the novel coronavirus in an Israeli prison.

In a press release, the non-governmental organisation said the Israel Prison Service informed it that the prisoners caught the virus in Megiddo Prison. The virus was brought into the prison by a detainee who had been interrogated at the occupation’s Petah Tikva Investigation Centre.

“The detainees face the risk of infection from the jailers and investigators who pose a threat to their lives,” the NGO added.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Saturday asked the Israeli authorities to immediately release Palestinian prisoners languishing in the occupation’s jails.

Shtayyeh asserted that the release should include child prisoners and those suffering from chronic diseases.

According to Palestinian authorities, 5,000 Palestinians, including women and children, are currently held in Israeli detention facilities.

The virus, which originated in China last December, has now spread to 164 countries and territories, World Health Organisation data shows.

Out of over 219,000 confirmed cases, the death toll stands at nearly 9,000, while more than 84,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.