Palestinians seek closure of West Bank crossings to curb virus
July 07 2020 12:39 AM
A municipal worker walks in front of shuttered shops along a street in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday, amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic crisis.


The Palestinian prime minister called on Israel yesterday to close all West Bank crossings, saying a lack of Palestinian control over the access points was responsible for surging coronavirus cases.
The call from prime minister Mohamed Shtayyeh came as both the occupied West Bank and Israel continued to see a rising virus caseload, sparking fears of a second pandemic wave that could prove difficult to contain.
“The infection rates reached unprecedented levels in Palestine due to many things, including that we do not control our crossings (and) our borders,” Shtayyeh said ahead of a weekly cabinet meeting.
“We are calling on Israel to close all the crossings and for Palestinians working to stay at their places of work and not return to the Palestinian territories,” he said.
There have been more than 4,200 confirmed coronavirus cases in the West Bank, including 16 deaths.
Israel has meanwhile recorded more than 30,000 cases, including nearly 18,000 recoveries and more than 330 deaths.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that it was clear the pandemic was “spreading”. “If we do not act now, we will have hundreds, and perhaps over 1,000, severe cases in the coming weeks, which will paralyse our systems,” he said. His government later announced plans for renewed restrictions, including the closure of event venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools — all of which had reopened in recent weeks.
Fresh curbs on the number of people allowed in restaurants and places of worship were also set to come into force.
Meanwhile, Israel Prison Service announced yesterday that a Palestinian who spent 26 years in Israeli prisons died yesterday as a result of medical negligence. 
Sadi Gharabli, who was 75 years old, is one of the oldest Palestinian prisoners in the occupation state’s prisons. He was arrested in 1994 and was placed in solitary confinement until 2006.  
He developed several health problems during that time and was not cared for, which led to a deterioration in his medical condition over the past few weeks, QNA reported from Ramallah.

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