- Title: Coronavirus paralyses Bethlehem as state of emergency enters third day
- Date: 8th March 2020
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (MARCH 8, 2020) (REUTERS) SHOPS CLOSED LEADING TO CHURCH OF NATIVITY AFTER STATE OF EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED IN THE CITY OVER CORONAVIRUS CHURCH TOWER (AUDIO OF BELLS RINGING OVER PLAZA) / CLOSED GATE STAIRS LEADING TO EMPTY CHURCH SQUARE MANGER SQUARE EMPTY, CLOSED CHURCH DOOR (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED PALESTINIAN SECURITY GUARD TALKING TO A MAN IN TAXI, SAYING: "Just go back to Jerusalem, that's all" UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST IN A TAXI: "Okay, Okay." JOURNALIST: "Where are you coming from?" UNIDENTIFIED TOURIST: "Brazil." SHOPS CLOSED IN BETHLEHEM STREETS LOCK ON SHUT DOOR
- Embargoed: 22nd March 2020 08:59
- Keywords: Bethlehem COVID-19 Israel Palestinians West Bank closure coronavirus
- Location: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- City: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001C46XX6V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The streets of Bethlehem were near-empty on Sunday (March 8), as an Israeli closure and Palestinian-declared state of emergency over coronavirus were starting to leave a mark on daily life in the West Bank town.
Streets were deserted and shops closed as Palestinian police wearing masks patrolled the traditional birthplace of Jesus, hit hard by the state of emergency.
The heart of the town, the Church of the Nativity, has remained closed since Thursday (March 5) and the church bells rang over an empty plaza.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the 30-day measure across the occupied West Bank on Thursday after seven coronavirus cases were found in Bethlehem among hotel workers thought to have caught it from tourists.
In other parts of the West Bank, Palestinian security forces staffed checkpoints and turned some foreigners away.
Religious authorities closed around 30 mosques, conferences were cancelled and national parks shut across the West Bank.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said movement between areas should only be done "in cases of extreme necessity".
The Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under interim peace accords with Israel, where around 15 people have been diagnosed with the virus.
(Production: Mustafa abu Ganeyeh, Suheir Sheikh)
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