Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun / Flash 90
Palestinian Authority health worker tests an Arab worker for coronavirus at an Israeli-PA checkpoint in Meitar, near the city of Hebron, on April 23, 2020.

The Palestinian Authority government this weekend placed the Arab portion of Hebron and the entire city of Shechem on lockdown after both cities saw a spike in the number of cases of the novel coronavirus diagnosed among the population.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced Saturday there would be a strict five-day curfew allowing only pharmacies, grocery stores and factories producing “essential products” to remain open.

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“I urge our people in the 1948 borders to avoid visits to cities, villages or refugee camps in the West Bank,” said PA Health Minister May Alkila.

“I urge those working in Israel to avoid travel between the West Bank and Israel for 14 days,” Shtayyeh said, and urged workers with permits to seek temporary residence in Israel.

According to the Palestinian Authority government, there have been 687 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the population, including two deaths from the virus.

On Saturday, there were a record 84 newly-diagnosed confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, the Ramallah-based Health Ministry said.

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