Saturday 04 April 2020 
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First cases of COVID-19 confirmed in besieged Gaza

The first two cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in the densely-populated Gaza Strip, which is under the Israeli siege.

According to Palestinian health officials, two Palestinians who had traveled from Pakistan and entered Gaza through Egypt tested positive for the virus late on Saturday at the entry checkpoint.

The two have been put in quarantine in Rafah, a town near the Egyptian border, since their arrival on Thursday, the Gaza health ministry said.

Schools, public markets and event halls had all been shut in Gaza over the past two weeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.

However, the Israeli siege on the coastal enclave has made it all the more difficult to contain the disease, as representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) are not let in to provide medical equipment.

The blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years, amid security measures following the 2007 conflicts, three subsequent wars and frequent rounds of violence.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, 53 people coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the occupied West Bank.




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