PA confirms 9 more cases of coronavirus

Nine more people test positive for coronavirus in Bethlehem.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash 90

Nine more people tested positive for coronavirus in Bethlehem on Friday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) “health minister”, Mai Kaileh, confirmed, according to the PA’s Wafa news agency.

This brings up the total number of cases of COVID-19 in the PA, mainly in Bethlehem Governorate, to 16.

On Thursday, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced a month-long state of emergency after the first seven cases were identified, while the Israeli defense ministry said it had imposed emergency measures on Bethlehem, with everybody "forbidden from entering or leaving the city".

It added that the lockdown had been imposed "in coordination with the Palestinian Authority".

The Church of the Nativity was closed on Thursday and along with other sites is expected to be shuttered for a month, according to the AFP news agency.

All tourist buses to and from Bethlehem were banned until further notice, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The streets of Bethlehem and Ramallah, where the PA cabinet is based, were near-empty on Friday morning, with most shops closed, AFP journalists said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)