Abbas orders easing of coronavirus restrictions

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 11 November 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, West Bank on 11 November 2019

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ordered yesterday the easing of some of the lockdown measures imposed in the occupied West Bank as part of the battle against the coronavirus Covid-19, Anadolu has reported. Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting held online, Abbas did not specify what restrictions would be lifted.

However, Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that shops selling goods related to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would be allowed to open their doors from 10am to 5pm. Ramadan is expected to start later this week, subject to the sighting of the new moon.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister said that small businesses with a maximum of three workers would also be allowed to open. Staff will still be required to follow safety measures such as social distancing.

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Abbas accepted that the measures are strict, but said that he had to choose between not imposing restrictions and losing people. “I choose not to lose my people,” he added.

The veteran leader claimed that he has ordered his government to pay special attention to the situation in occupied Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. However, the Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is doing relatively well with the coronavirus, insists that Abbas is neglecting the besieged enclave.

(Source / 21.04.2020) 

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