- Title: U.S. church group in West Bank tests negative for coronavirus
- Date: 8th March 2020
- Summary: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (MARCH 8, 2020) (REUTERS) REPORTERS AROUND SPOKESMAN FOR THE PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT, IBRAHIM MELHEM (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SPOKESMAN FOR THE PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT, IBRAHIM MELHEM, SAYING: "Test results were released a short while ago and show that around 164 people, including the 14 Americans who were in touch with sick people in Bethlehem, have tested negative. This means that they are not infected by the virus. The American tourists will leave either later this evening or tomorrow morning." BEIT JALA, WEST BANK (MARCH 8, 2020) (REUTERS) ANGEL HOTEL, WHERE A GROUP OF U.S. TOURISTS ARE STAYING UNDER QUARANTINE, AS SEEN BEHIND A PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICER/ PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICER WEARING A MASK PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICERS OUTSIDE HOTEL, WEARING MASKS PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICERS MANNING ROADBLOCK ON ROAD LEADING TO HOTEL VARIOUS OF SECURITY OUTSIDE HOTEL PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICER POINTING BYPASSER AWAY FROM ROADBLOCK PALESTINIAN SECURITY OFFICERS OUTSIDE HOTEL SIGN READING: "ANGEL HOTEL" VARIOUS OF SECURITY OFFICERS OUTSIDE HOTEL
- Embargoed: 22nd March 2020 17:31
- Keywords: Bethlehem COVID-19 Israel Palestinians U.S. pastor U.S. tourists quarentined West Bank closure coronavirus
- Location: RAMALLAH AND BEIT JALA, WEST BANK
- City: RAMALLAH AND BEIT JALA, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001C46YZ47
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thirteen Americans quarantined in a West Bank hotel on suspicion of having caught the coronavirus have tested negative, a Palestinian official said on Sunday (March 8).
"The American tourists will leave either later this evening or tomorrow morning," said Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government, stating that 14 Americans had been tested.
Chris Bell, the lead pastor of the group from the 3Circle Church in Fairhope, Alabama, told Reuters that there were 13 Americans in their party.
The group were placed in quarantine at the Angel Hotel in Beit Jala, which is next to Bethlehem, on Wednesday (March 4). 3Circle Church works with a school in Bethlehem, part of the reason for group's visit to the Holy Land.
The Angel Hotel was the first area of coronavirus concern in the Bethlehem area. After several of its workers tested positive this week, the Palestinian Authority put restrictions on foreign tourist travel and later declared a 30-day state of emergency.
The measures effectively shut down the city, including the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, and local mosques.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinian security forces were turning foreigners back at checkpoints, while schools, colleges, kindergartens and national parks were closed.
(Production: Mohammed Abu Ganeyeh, Saed Hawari, Lianne Back)
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