Photo: Flash90

COVID-19 claims first Palestinian victim

The Palestinian Authority announced its first victim of the coronavirus. P.A. Government Spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said he was saddened to report the death of the victim, who he said was a woman in her sixties from the village of Bidu northwest of Jerusalem.

Melhem said the unnamed resident had been infected by her 41-year-old daughter and 46-year-old son-in-law, both of whom are believed to have contracted the coronavirus while working in Israel. Both of the victim’s family members are reportedly in “stable condition.”

Thousands of Palestinians from both the West Bank and Gaza Strip who used to come to Israel every day for employment are now barred from entry, in an arrangement Jerusalem coordinated with Ramallah to limit the coronavirus outbreak on all sides of the border. Gaza resident Jalal Jabareen told Reuters that the closure “will not only affect my life, it will affect the life of all the Palestinians,” who he said are still “trying to cross over to Israel.” Another, Ibrahim Sadakah explained, “We are workers and we have financial commitments,” adding that he was the only employed family member responsible for feeding eight others at home.

There are currently 62 confirmed coronavirus cases among Palestinians in the West Bank, with two more in the Gaza Strip.