Palestine has reportedly announced a two-week ban on tourists visiting cities in the occupied West Bank. Tourism Minister Rula Maayah declared 14-day mandatory quarantine after a first suspected case of the coronavirus emerged in the territory, confirmed reports.
The tourism minister told the international media that Palestine has urged all the hotels to deny accepting the foreign nationals for stay. He said that Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, revered as the birthplace of Jesus, will remain closed "until further notice" amid coronavirus fears. He, in fact, urged all the local churches, mosques and other religious institutions to seal the sites after a number of suspected cases emerged at a hotel in the city of Bethlehem, located in West Bank.
A church official, on condition of anonymity, told the international reporters that even though it remained open Thursday morning, the Church of the Nativity might close down tomorrow. He said that the church respected the decisions of the health authorities and put the safety of the people first. The church had huge assembly gathering on a daily basis that posed health safety risks to the people.
The head of the local health directorate, Imad Shehadeh, reportedly said that a group of Greek tourists had visited a hotel in late February and the two out of them showed the symptoms of the coronavirus. Police isolated the staff of the hotel, as health authorities awaited the results of the samples dispatched for laboratory tests. The Palestinian Authority is now exercising limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under interim peace accords as per the reports.
According to the reports, several South Korean tourists visited the West Bank in February, that are now suspected carrying the virus strain. The group visited Nablus, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Hebron. All the restaurants and hotels visited by them were ordered for a shut down by the health authorities recently.