The Palestinian Authority announced on Monday that the number of coronavirus cases has risen to 39 after a Palestinian from Tulkarem tested positive for the disease.
PA government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem announced that a two-year-old girl from Bethlehem who had been diagnosed with the virus has recovered from the disease.
PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said during the weekly meeting of the Palestinian Cabinet in Ramallah that a Palestinian student from Tulkarem, who was studying medicine in Poland, was found to be infected with the virus upon his return to the West Bank through the Allenby Bridge.
He said the student’s family and other people who came in contact with him were now being examined to see if they have been infected with the virus.
This was the second confirmed case of coronavirus outside the area of Bethlehem. Last week the PA announced that another Palestinian from Tulkarem was diagnosed with the virus. It said the man contracted the virus after coming in contact with an Israeli who recently returned from abroad.
Shortly after Monday’s announcement, the PA governor of Tulkarem, Issam Abu Baker, announced that he has decided to completely seal off the city and its surroundings to prevent the spread of the virus. The PA government, however, later announced that no decision has been taken to close Tulkarem and said the governor’s move was only a recommendation.
Shtayyeh said that more than 2,300 samples that were tested in the past 24 few days for the virus were negative. “That means we have 39 confirmed cases,” he said. “Fifteen of them have begun recovering. But that does not mean that the problem has gone.”
Shtayyeh assured Palestinians that there was enough food in the markets. “A report submitted by the Minister of Economy says that the markets are now stable,” he added. “We have enough food for a significant period of time.”
Meanwhile, the PA turned the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah into a center for treating Palestinians diagnosed with the virus. PA governor of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Leila Ghannam, said the move was a precautionary measure in the case emergency resulting from the spread of the virus. She said that no cases of coronavirus have been detected in her city.In a related development, the PA security forces arrested 20 Palestinians on suspicion of spreading rumors and causing panic regarding the virus. The PA security forces have also arrested several coffeeshop and restaurant owners who ignored instructions to shut their businesses to prevent the spread of the virus.