- Title: Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity ordered closed over coronavirus fears
- Date: 5th March 2020
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (MARCH 5, 2020) (REUTERS) TOURISTS AND PILGRIMS WEARING MASKS VISITING THE CHURCH OF NATIVITY TOURISTS LEAVING THE CHURCH AFTER PALESTINIANS OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WILL SHUT DOWN OVER CONRONAVIRUS CONCERNS VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS WITH MASKS TOURING THE CHURCH TOURISTS TAKING PICTURES OF CHURCH OF NATIVITY GROUP OF TOURISTS GATHERING INSIDE CHURCH PRIESTS SITTING INSIDE CHURCH WHILE TOURISTS HEARING A GUIDE VARIOUS OF NUN EXPLAINING TO TOURISTS ABOUT THE CHURCH VARIOUS OF TOURISTS LEAVING THE CHURCH TOURISTS AND PILGRIMS AT THE MANGER SQUARE NEAR THE CHURCH (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN TOURISM MINISTRY PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR JERIES QUMSIEH, SAYING: "Today, we took few procedures depending on the instructions by the Coronavirus Committee of the (Palestinian) Authority. The most important recommendation is to close all the historical and touristic sites including the Church of Nativity; after we evacuate the church from tourists; we will shut it down. We also ordered all the Palestinian hotels to cancel all the bookings starting from tomorrow and lasts 14 days. There were instructions sent to the tourism agencies and to the hotels to stick by all the measures." CHURCH'S BELLS TOURISTS OUTSIDE OF CHURCH OF NATIVITY
- Embargoed: 19th March 2020 12:55
- Keywords: Bethlehem Manger Square Nativity Church Palestinians West Bank coronavirus health
- Location: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- City: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001C3S0RPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The Church of the Nativity was ordered 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.
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.
(Production: Roleen Tafakji/Mohammed Abu Ganeyeh/Mousa Qawasmi)
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