Palestinians renew West Bank virus emergency

RAMALLAH: President Mahmud Abbas renewed a confinement in the Palestinian-ruled areas of the West Bank for another month later on Monday, although some measures will be eased.

The state of emergency in force from March 22 will now last at least until June 5, Abbas announced.

But movement between cities in the Israeli-occupied territory will be facilitated and steps will be taken to reopen shops and other businesses, he added.

The measures do not apply to Loop Strip, another part of the Palestinian territories that is run by the rival Hamas-led government and where restrictions have already been eased.

So far there have been 345 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank , with two deaths.

Israel has more than 15,000 cases and the Palestinian government is concerned that the tens of thousands of Palestinians working within Israel may bring new cases, especially with the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month.