- Title: Church of the Nativity closed over coronavirus fears
- Date: 5th March 2020
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (MARCH 5, 2020) (REUTERS) PRIEST CLOSING GATE OF CHURCH OF NATIVITY AFTER AN ORDER BY PALESTINIAN HEALTH MINISTRY CLOSED CHURCH VARIOUS OF STERILIZING TEAM GETTING THE EQUIPMENT OUT OF THE CAR AND STANDING NEAR CHURCH OF NATIVITY MAN WEARING WHITE UNIFORM AND BEING READY TO ENTER THE CHURCH MEMBER OF THE TEAM ENTERING A GATE TOWARD CHURCH OF NATIVITY JERICHO, WEST BANK (MARCH 5, 2020) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN SECURITY MEN AT CHECKPOINT IN THE ENTRANCE OF JERICHO STOPPING A MINI BUS POLICEMAN CHECKING PASSPORTS OF TOURISTS VEHICLE DRIVING BACK AFTER POLICE ORDER NOT TO ENTER JERICHO ARB AL-ANANI, HEAD OF LOCAL BRANCH OF THE HEALTH MINISTRY IN JERICHO TALKING TO POLICEMEN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ARB AL-ANANI, HEAD OF LOCAL BRANCH OF THE HEALTH MINISTRY IN JERICHO, SAYING: "Today the situation is more serious, the Israeli and Jordanian sides told us that a group of tourists from Greece are affected so we took some restrictions. We prevented the tourists to enter Bethlehem, Jordan Valley, and Bethlehem." POLICEMAN STOPPING A TAXI TAXI DRIVING BACK AFTER BEING BANNED TO ENTER JERICHO MASKED POLICEMAN VEHICLES DRIVING TOWARD JERICHO
- Embargoed: 19th March 2020 15:30
- Keywords: Bethlehem Coronavirus West Bank church of Nativity tourism
- Location: BETHLEHEM, JERICHO, WEST BANK
- City: BETHLEHEM, JERICHO, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001C3S13K7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The Church of the Nativity was closed on Thursday (March 5) and foreign tourists were banned from West Bank hotels after four suspected coronavirus cases were found in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.
The measures announced by the Palestinian Authority's tourism ministry came as a particular blow to the Biblical town, whose businesses are largely dependent on Christian visitors to the church, built on the traditional site of Jesus's birth.
Just three months ago Bethlehem was hailing its best Christmas for two decades, the mayor and hoteliers said, even better than the 1.5 million visitors it received in 2018.
The Latin Patriarchate of the Holy Land said the Church of the Nativity, which was first founded in 339 and rebuilt and extended over the centuries, would be closed for two weeks, along with other churches and mosques in the Bethlehem area.
The ban on foreign guests at West Bank hotels will also last two weeks, the tourism ministry said.
In Jericho, Palestinian security forces are banning tourists from entering the city.
The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under interim peace accords.
(Production: Roleen Tafakji/Mohammed Abu Ganeyeh/Mousa Qawasmi)
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