The lockdown imposed in Palestine to combat the coronavirus disease and its mutants will be extended for two more weeks, today said Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said that he also recommended to President Mahmoud Abbas to extend the state of emergency declared in Palestine since last March when the first coronavirus cases were discovered by 30 more days.
“The statistics and figures related to the coronavirus reflect a significant and clear decline in the number of infections, and in-hospital bed occupancy rates designated for this pandemic, and there is a significant decline in the need for intensive care units and artificial respiration,” he said.
“Experts’ reports indicate that the measures that were followed, including partial lockdowns, and the drop in large social gatherings at weddings and mourning homes had an important effect on this decline. However, there are other worrisome indications, which must be taken into consideration, namely the presence of infections with the rapidly spreading mutated virus, which is fatal in some cases.
Therefore, continued caution is absolutely necessary,” he said.
As a result, said Shtayyeh, it was decided to “recommend to the President to extend the state of emergency for 30 days,” and “to continue with the current measures (partial lockdown) for another two weeks.” The Prime Minister said his government expects to get 50,000 vaccine vials from different sources, but mainly COVAX, and therefore vaccinating the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will start in the middle of this month, while the first batch of vaccines the government has ordered and paid for is supposed to arrive by the end of this month.
Today’s coronavirus data showed that 11 people have died of the disease in Palestine in the last 24 hours, 586 new cases were recorded, including some 40 from the corona variants recently discovered in some West Bank villages, and 768 patients have recovered, while 54 coronavirus patients are being hospitalized in intensive care units, including 17 who are on respirators.
A total of 94 percent of the total corona cases recorded so far since the outbreak in Palestine in March have recovered, 4.9 percent are still active, and 1.1 percent have died.