Palestinians brace for COVID-19 economic ramifications as govt mulls reopening amid pandemic spread

The lock down imposed on the West Bank over the raging corona virus is to be lifted on Monday unless the Palestinian Authority decides to extend the strict measures imposed to block the spread of the pandemic.

So far the disease, which erupted in mid-March, has claimed the lives of 35 Palestinians. In total, more than 6,600 have been diagnosed with the virus, m

Last week, the situation there was so alarming that Health Minister Mai Al Kaila said it had spiralled “out of control”, with the city registering more than 80 percent of all infections.

Being a commercial hub with a population of 750,000 people, Hebron regularly sees a high stream of people who come to the city for work, worship, and pleasure. 

But being PA’s largest governorate is just one of the explanations for the spread of the virus. Another reason is the constant movement of Palestinian workers from Hebron to Israeli territories.

Out of the 150,000 Palestinians who work in Israel, about half reportedly come from the city of Hebron. Many of them are employed in agriculture and construction.

Now, with the re-eruption of the virus, their jobs are at risk, especially given that Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Al Shtayyeh asked Israel to seal its crossings with the PA to prevent the spread of the disease, a request that hasn’t been answered yet.

However, if his plea ends up being answered, thousands of Palestinian workers, who rely on Israeli jobs, will be dealt a severe blow.

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