PA announces alarming coronavirus infection rates in the West Bank
While Hamas has been managing to maintain low coronavirus infection rates in Gaza, the West Bank is experiencing an alarming rise in new infections in recent weeks.
A member of medical staff swaps a Palestinian worker for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon his return from Israel, outside the Israeli-controlled Tarqumiya checkpoint near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 26, 2020
(photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA / REUTERS)
465 people were infected with coronavirus in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territory in the past 24 hours, totaling 6,566 active patients and 63 deceased in the West Bank since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, according to data released by the PA health organizations and reported by Walla.
While Hamas has been managing to maintain low coronavirus infection rates in Gaza, the West Bank is experiencing an alarming rise in new infections in recent weeks. Medical staffs throughout the Palestinian Authority claim to be short staffed and the increased economic crisis has led to continuous protests.
The number of active coronavirus patients in the West Bank on July 1st was 2,270. That number has nearly tripled itself within three weeks and morbidity rates are rising. The number of deceased patients due to coronavirus in the West Bank on July 1st, was only seven patients.
The outbreak epicenter in the PA’s controlled areas of the West Bank is the Hebron province, where 60% of all patients are located. This concentration of patients has led the PA to impose its most severe transportation restrictions on the area.
According to a representative from the Doctors Union of Hebron, 15% of all medical staff personnel in the area of Hebron province has been infected with coronavirus. He also noted that the short staffed medical teams are exhausted and that they are struggling to uphold all medical procedures expected of them due to the overpopulation of the hospitals.
Like in many countries, including Israel, the PA is not dealing with the medical implications of the pandemic alone, but also with its economic implications. Similar to trends around the world, the Palestinian population was attentive to guidelines and followed the harsh restrictions and lockdowns during the first wave of the pandemic, while now, during the second wave, people’s patience is running low.
The PA entered the second wave of coronavirus in significantly worse conditions, having had severed all ties, including civil and security coordination with Israel. This included the PA refusal to receive any kind of assistance for combating coronavirus unless it coordinated it directly, like the aerial aid provided by the United Arab Emirates in two flights from Abu Dahbi to Ben-Gurion Airport.
These days, the PA is working on coordinating aid packages from China and Saudi Arabia with help from the UN. In addition, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that Germany will donate 50 respirators to the PA.