Naftali Bennett closes Bethlehem, Abbas declares state of emergency

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett held a special meeting on Thursday to discuss what would happen should coronavirus hit Israel on a massive scale.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett during a special meeting discussing what will happen if a national state of emergency is declared due to coronavirus, March 2020 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett during a special meeting discussing what will happen if a national state of emergency is declared due to coronavirus, March 2020
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Thursday, in coordination with the IDF and Palestinian Authority (PA), a closure of  Bethlehem due to concerns on the spreading of coronavirus. Both Israelis and Palestinians will be restricted from entering and leaving the city. 
The decision by Bennett to close the city was made on the basis of several cases of coronavirus originating from the Bethlehem area. 
The closure will take effect on Thursday evening until a new announcement is made on access.
Palestinian Authority President Abbas also declared a 'state of emergency' in Palestinian territories for 30 days after 7 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Bethlehem.

Bennett also announced, during a morning meeting with heads of various security services as well as Health Ministry director Moshe Bar Siman Tov, that If the coronavirus outbreak reaches massive proportions in Israel, the Defense Ministry will take action, .
For now, the discussion was theoretical and measures will only be taken if a state of emergency is declared.
As of March 5, Israel's Health Ministry is leading the charge in combating the coronavirus.
The Palestinian Authority declared a national emergency on Thursday after four hotel workers in Bethlehem were suspected of having coronavirus.