Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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Palestinians shut West Bank schools as coronavirus variants surge

PA well being ministry says intensive care models for COVID-19 sufferers have reached 95 % occupancy within the West Bank.

Schools within the occupied West Bank will shut down for 12 days in an effort to cease a pointy rise in coronavirus variant infections, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh mentioned on Saturday.

High schools will probably be exempt from the closure which is able to start on Sunday, Shtayyeh mentioned in a televised handle, including the brand new restrictions had been prompted by a rising variety of instances of the coronavirus variants first found within the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Intensive care models for COVID-19 sufferers have reached 95 % occupancy within the West Bank and schools have been recognized as the principle trigger for the quick unfold of infections, the well being ministry mentioned.

On Thursday, it reported {that a} randomised pattern of coronavirus sufferers confirmed that greater than three-quarters had been contaminated with the British variant.

The World Bank mentioned in a report this week that the occupied Palestinian territories have one of many lowest testing charges within the Middle East and North Africa and that the positivity charge within the West Bank is greater than 21 %, and in Gaza 29 %, indicating an uncontrolled unfold of the pandemic.

The West Bank, the place 3.1 million Palestinians dwell, has reported a complete of 118,519 coronavirus instances and 1,406 deaths.

Gaza, the place coronavirus restrictions have steadily been lifted since January, has reported 55,091 instances and 549 deaths inside its inhabitants of two million.

With roughly 32,000 vaccine doses in hand up to now, the Palestinians launched restricted vaccination programmes within the West Bank and Gaza this month, starting with well being employees.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) expects to obtain an preliminary COVAX cargo inside weeks and says it additionally has provide offers with Russia and drugmaker AstraZeneca, though doses have been sluggish to return. Shtayyeh mentioned he anticipated shipments in March.

Israel has to this point given 2,000 doses to the PA,  with Palestinians accusing Israel of ignoring its duties as an occupying energy by not together with the Palestinians in its inoculation programme. Human rights teams and UN officers have additionally mentioned Israel is liable for the wellbeing of the Palestinians.

Israel says that beneath interim peace accords, the PA is liable for the vaccination drive within the West Bank and Gaza.

Amid the scarcity of vaccine within the Palestinian territories, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plan to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a gaggle of allied nations was briefly frozen on Thursday.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki referred to as Netanyahu’s plan “political blackmail and an immoral act”, accusing Israel of “exploitation of the humanitarian needs of these countries”.

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Updated on April 14, 2021 1:19 pm

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