2020 coronavirus pandemic in the State of Palestine

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2020 coronavirus pandemic in Palestine
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationState of Palestine
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseBethlehem
Arrival date5 March 2020
(Duration, 4 weeks and 2 days)
Confirmed cases193
Official website

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to the West Bank on March 5, 2020, beginning the 2020 coronavirus outbreak in Palestine.[1] The Palestinian health ministry said the cases had first been detected at a hotel in the Bethlehem area, where a group of Greek tourists had visited the hotel in late February, with two later diagnosed with the virus.[2]

The first two cases in Gaza City, Gaza were diagnosed on March 21. There are 12 cases as of April 1, 2020.


COVID-19 cases in Palestine  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
# of cases
# of deaths
62(+3%) 1(+1)
86(+39%) 1(=)
115(+34%) 1(=)
Cases: The number of non-repatriated cases reported by the Government


5 March:

  • Seven COVID-19 disease cases were confirmed near Bethlehem in the West Bank.[3][4][5] The Palestinian health ministry said the cases had first been detected at a hotel in the Bethlehem area, where a group of Greek tourists had visited the hotel in late February, with two later diagnosed with the virus.[2] The Church of the Nativity is expected to close after 2 Greek visitors that later tested positive were visiting hotels in the area.[6]
  • As a result, the Palestinian government announced a complete ban on entry of foreign tourists.[7] The Palestinian government declared a state of emergency in the West Bank on 5 March.[8] Schools, universities, mosques and churches were closed for one month.

7 March:

  • On 7 March, there were 22 cases of infections.[9]
  • The City of Bethlehem is locked down as 16 cases of infection are found in the West Bank, including nine cases in Bethlehem.[10] The lockdown is imposed by Israeli military as Israel controlled all entrances to the West Bank. According to the Israeli defense ministry, the lockdown of Bethlehem is imposed in coordination with Palestinian authorities.[11]

9 March:

  • Palestinian authorities announce that there are 5 more cases on the West Bank. Four cases were recorded in Bethlehem, and one in Tulkarm.[12]

13 March

14 March

  • 3 new cases has been announced, bringing the total to 38 cases.[14]

16 March

18 March

  • The number of cases has risen to 44.[17] 40 cases are from Bethlehem, two from Tulkarm, one from Ramallah and another from Nablus.[18][19]
  • Israeli Minister of Defense, Naftali Bennett said "Starting Wednesday, those West Bank-based Palestinians, who happen to work or trade in vital sectors, such as health, agriculture and building, can reside in Israel”. More than 100,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank who work in Israel, usually return home on a daily basis.[20]
  • Yotam Shefer of COGAT announced the closing of Palestinian-administered areas of the West Bank on Wednesday to limit the spread of coronavirus, telling journalists the decision had been made in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority.[21]
  • Israel and the Palestinian Authority have set up a joint operations room to combat the pandemic, PA government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem revealed. An Israeli Defense Ministry official confirmed that a joint operations room has been set up with the Palestinians, but declined to provide further details.[22]
  • The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territories Jamie McGoldrick announced during a video conference with Mohammed Shtayyeh one million dollars of urgent joint financial support from multiple United Nations organizations to provide health aid and technical support to Palestine to help it confront the outbreak.[23]

19 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed three new cases bringing the total to 47. He said in the daily briefing that two cases were students returning home from France and quarantined before being in contact with anyone. The third is for a person from Nablus previously suspected of having the disease and was kept in home quarantine.[24]

20 March

  • The Minister of Health, Dr. Mai Al-Kaila, announced that 17 of the 19 cases who had been in quarantine in Bethlehem had recovered. The Minister said at a press conference held this Friday morning in Ramallah, that 17 patients who were in health quarantine in the city of Bethlehem will be allowed, after confirming their recovery, as they will be allowed to go to the house, with an emphasis on them to adhere to the home quarantine, and taking into account the measurement of temperature from time to time.
  • The Minister also announced a new case, a Palestinian from Salfit Governorate coming from Pakistan.[25][26]

21 March

  • Mai Kaileh confirmed four new cases bringing the total to 52. Three of the new cases were students from Ramallah returning from the United Kingdom and the fourth was a physician from Hebron who contracted the disease while working at the Israeli Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.[27]
  • On 21 March, Palestinian sources confirmed the first two cases in Gaza, which originated from Pakistan; the two Palestinians had traveled from Pakistan and had entered Gaza through Egypt. Once they had tested positive for the virus and they were placed in quarantine in Rafah since their arrival on 19 March.[28][29][30]
  • The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 53 cases have been confirmed in the West Bank.

22 March

  • The spokesman for the Palestinian government updated the total number of cases in Palestine to 59 including the 2 cases in Gaza.[31][32]
  • The Palestine News Network said that newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported a WHO delegation arriving in Gaza via the Beit Hanoun Erez crossing.[33]
  • Following a meeting of the National Emergency, Prime Minister Shtayyeh announced a ban for 2 more weeks on movement between and inside of Palestinian cities for two weeks as of 10:00 PM with the exception of health facilities, pharmacies, bakeries, and grocery stores.[34]

23 March

  • The state-run Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza announced on Twitter today that it will send $150 million in aid over a six-month period to support United Nations humanitarian programmes and efforts to help combat the new coronavirus outbreak.[35][36]

24 March

  • The daily briefing confirmed the 60th case in Ramallah, who was a woman in her 40s returning from the United States, and was immediately quarantined. A person who was previously reported as recovered was found on later testing to still have the disease.[37][38]

25 March

  • The daily briefing confirmed a rise to 62 cases with one being the daughter of the woman who had returned from the US and had tested positive on 24 March and the other being a 62-year-old woman from a village near Ramallah.[39]
  • Reporting the first fatality in the country, a woman aged 60 died.[40] Ibrahim Melhem said "The woman had experienced symptoms and was later hospitalized" before succumbing to the illness. The woman was from Biddu, north of Jerusalem and southwest of Ramallah. There are now 62 confirmed cases in the West Bank and two in the Gaza Strip. The two new cases are for the dead woman's son, 46, and his wife, 41.[41][42]
  • Israel is set to release two out of four Palestinian prisoners in the evening, (both Nablus residents), who have been under quarantine in the Ramla Prison Clinic for ten days as a precautionary measure on suspicion of contracting the virus after coming into contact with an ill Israeli prison officer. The prisoners are to be delivered to Palestinian medics at Beit Sira military checkpoint, west of Ramallah city.[43]

26 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed 13 new cases in the village of Biddu bringing the total in Palestine to 86. Tests on people who had been in contact with the woman who died on 25 March confirmed 13 new cases, bringing the total in that village to 18. Of the 86 cases, 9 are in Gaza, including seven who were confirmed positive earlier in the day and who had who came in contact at the Gaza quarantine center with the two confirmed cases held there. 17 cases in Bethlehem have recovered and have been sent to home quarantine for 14 days.[44]

27 March

  • Palestine Friday morning confirmed seven new cases, raising the total to 91; 5 were from Biddu and 2 were identified from 227 Palestinian workers who had returned from Israeli settlements, a man who worked as a gas station worker in Gush Etzion, north of Bethlehem, and his mother, who worked as a cleaner in a nearby settlement.[45] West Bank hospitals have 205 ventilating machines, and as of this date corona tests had been performed on 5,562 people.[40]

28 March

  • The daily briefing confirmed 6 new cases bringing the total to 97. Three cases in Artas included the 62-year-old husband of an infected woman as well as her 19-year-old and 17-year-old nephews and a further case being her sister from Beit Iskaria while two other cases were in Jerusalem area villages – a 29-year-old man from Hizma and a woman in her 20s from Al-Qubeiba, Jerusalem who was infected after socializing with an infected sister in Biddu.[46] The National COVID-19 Response Plan specifies a requirement of $120 million over 90 days. On 27 March 2020, the humanitarian clusters released an updated inter-agency multi-sectoral COVID-19 response plan in support of this totaling $34 million over 90 days and forming a part of the global UN appeal launched on 25 March 2020.[47]

29 March

  • Ibrahim Milhem confirmed seven new cases in the West Bank, bringing the total in Palestine to 104. Six cases were confirmed in the village of Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem and a woman in her 30's from nearby Al-Qubeiba. [48]
  • Mohammad Shtayyeh announced two more cases in the West Bank, bringing the total to 106. At a press conference in Ramallah he said the two cases were for a Palestinian in the village of Qatanna and another in the Hebron governorate. Additionally, Shtayyeh gave a government estimate of 12 cases among the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem and currently being treated in Israeli hospitals.[49]
  • Two new cases in the West Bank bring the total in Palestine to 108, said Mohammad Milhem. The two new cases are the husband and the son of a woman in Hebron diagnosed earlier with the disease. Two more people recovered in Bethlehem bringing total recoveries to 20, all of whom, bar one, were among the first to get the disease in Bethlehem.[50]

30 March

  • Ibrahim Melhem confirmed 7 new cases in Qatanna bringing the total number of cases to 115.[51] In Gaza, more than 1760 people are in one of 25 designated quarantine facilities including at Rafah crossing quarantine centre or designated quarantine facilities. The quarantine period will be extended from two to three weeks (21 days). Those coming from crossings at Rafah or Erez have been quarantined since March 15. Home quarantine ended 26 March for those who entered Gaza 14 days prior. The Ministry of Health is limiting public primary healthcare service delivery to 14 centers distributed across the five governorates, providing essential services only.[52]

31 March

  • Ibrahim Melhem confirmed 2 new cases, one in Ramallah and the second a man who returned to the Gaza Strip last week through the Rafah crossing and was placed in confinement since then. This brings the total number of cases to 117 of which 10 are in Gaza.[53]


1 April

  • Fifteen new cases were confirmed in the West Bank today and 2 more in Gaza, bringing total in West Bank to 122 and in Palestine in general to 134, according to government spokesman Mohammad Milhem. The 15 were Palestinians who worked at a poultry factory in the Atarot industrial area of East Jerusalem. He said Israel had communicated the possibility of the workers being infected and that although nine of the infected workers who were in one bus were taken straight from the factory to quarantine centers in Ramallah, the rest crossed Israeli military checkpoints, went to their villages and mingled with people before they were detected, which could raise the number of infected once tests are conducted.[54]
  • Israel has linked possible assistance for Gaza's efforts to combat the disease to progress in Israel's recovering the remains of two soldiers killed in the 2014 war.[55]

2 April

  • Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal Shakhra confirmed 21 new cases bringing the total to 155, most of the cases being Palestinians who worked in Israel and returned home along with those who were in contact with them. 20 were from the Ramallah and Jerusalem-area villages and one in Hebron. Workers returning home this week while Israel celebrates Passover were asked to isolate themselves at their homes for two weeks. The Health Ministry plans to check an estimated 60,000 workers as they return.[56]
  • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East resumed the distribution of food aid in the Gaza Strip on 31 March. Food baskets are now delivered directly to beneficiaries’ homes as a precautionary measure by UNRWA, to prevent gatherings as part of its steps to reduce and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.[57]
  • The number of confirmed cases rose to 161, five of them related to the Atarot poultry farm where 250 Palestinian workers who work there have yet to be tested plus one other in Beitunia.[58][59]

3 April

  • Ibrahim Milhem announced ten new cases bringing the total to 171, residents of Biddu, Qatanna, Hizma and Tulkarem. Test results for the 250 Palestinian workers from the Atarot poultry plant are due later.[60]
  • Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh confirmed another 22 cases that brings the total to 193. The Prime Minister stressed that the next two weeks will be difficult as around 45,000 Palestinian workers in Israel return from their workplace in Israel. Shtayyeh added, "We are trying hard to arrange the return of the workers with the Israeli side so that we can take the necessary health measures. We hope that Israel will agree to this, as this virus is the enemy of all mankind and knows no borders, gender or religion," he said. "We also asked Israel to check the workers prior to their arrival."[61]



The table below shows the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Governorates of Palestine.[62]

COVID-19 in Palestine by Governorate as of 26 March 2020
Cases Deaths Recoveries Active Cases
Bethlehem Governorate 40 0 17 23
Hebron Governorate 1 0 0 1
Jericho Governorate 1 0 0 1
Jerusalem Governorate 16 1 0 15
Khan Yunis Governorate 9 0 0 9
Nablus Governorate 1 0 0 1
Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate 13 0 0 13
Salfit Governorate 1 0 0 1
Tulkarm Governorate 2 0 0 2
Total (9 Governorates) 84 1 17 66


     Total confirmed cases      Recovered      Deaths

See also


  1. ^ "West Bank confirms 7 coronavirus cases in Bethlehem". Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Palestinians confirm 7 coronavirus cases, declare tourist ban".
  3. ^ Haaretz (6 March 2020). "Israel Orders Closure on Bethlehem After Seven Coronavirus Cases Discovered". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Palestinians confirm seven cases". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Coronavirus in Palestine: Suspected cases near Bethlehem". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Church of Nativity in Bethlehem to close over coronavirus fears". Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Palestinians announce West Bank tourism ban over coronavirus". France24. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  8. ^ staff, T. O. I.; Agencies. "PA shutters West Bank, Israel quarantines Bethlehem after coronavirus found". Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE". Archived from the original on 7 March 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Bethlehem under lockdown after coronavirus cases confirmed". Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Bethlehem Becomes a Ghost Town After Coronavirus Closure". Haaretz. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Palestine confirms 5 more coronavirus cases". Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  13. ^ "The risk remains very high: 35 cases of Corona virus disease Palestine". PNN. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Palestine reports 3 new coronavirus cases in Bethlehem". Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  15. ^ "New coronavirus case confirmed in Palestine". Roya News. 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update 9". WHO. 16 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Live Updates Israeli Coronavirus Diagnoses Spike by 27 Percent, Top Brass to Prepare for Full Lockdown". Haaretz. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Palestine confirms three new coronavirus cases". Wafa. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update 10". WHO. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Due to Corona, Israel to Let Palestinian Workers Stay in Workplaces". IMEMC. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Coordinating with Abbas, Israel puts virus closure on PA-ruled West Bank areas". Timews of Israel. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Israel, Palestinians set up joint operations room to combat coronavirus". Jerusalem Post. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  23. ^ "UN official applauds Palestinians' efforts to cope with Coronavirus". WAFA. 18 March 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Spokesman: Three new cases of coronavirus in Palestine; total 47". WAFA. 19 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  25. ^ "وزيرة الصحة: إصابة جديدة بسلفيت… وشفاء 17 مريضًا كانوا في العزل في فندق "آنجل" ببيت لحم".
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  27. ^ "Health minister confirms 4 new cases of coronavirus in Palestine, total 52, including 17 cured". WAFA. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  28. ^ "First coronavirus cases confirmed in the Palestinian Gaza Strip". 22 March 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Palestinians announce first two cases of coronavirus in Gaza Strip". Times of Israel. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Palestinians confirm first coronavirus cases in Gaza". Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  31. ^ "Six new coronavirus cases in Palestine". 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  32. ^ "Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update 12 occupied Palestinian territory, March 22, 2020". World Health Organization. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  33. ^ "WHO delegation arrives in Gaza Strip". 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  34. ^ "Palestine PM bans movement between and inside of cities". PNN. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Qatar donating $150mn to support Gaza's coronavirus battle". MEMO. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  36. ^ "Qatar announces $150 million aid to Gaza to support U.N. programs, efforts to contain coronavirus". Reuters. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  37. ^ "New case of coronavirus in Palestine brings total to 60 – spokesman". WAFA. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  38. ^ 24 March WHO
  39. ^ "Two Palestinians tested positive of coronavirus in West Bank; total 62 in Palestine". WAFA. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  40. ^ a b "With 205 respirators, Palestinian Authority fears collapse amid coronavirus outbreak - Israel News". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  41. ^ "First corona-related death in Palestine; two more cases bring total to 64". WAFA. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  42. ^ "Palestinians report first death from coronavirus". Reuters. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  43. ^ "Israel to release two of four prisoners exposed to coronavirus". WAFA. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  44. ^ "13 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in West Bank village bringing total in Palestine to 86". WAFA. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  45. ^ "Palestine confirms seven new coronavirus cases". WAFA. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  46. ^ "Spokesman: Six new cases of coronavirus confirmed in West Bank; total 97 in Palestine". WAFA. 28 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  47. ^ 28 March WHO
  48. ^ "Spokesman confirms seven new cases of COVID-19 in West Bank". WAFA. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  49. ^ "Premier declares two more cases of COVID-19 in Palestine". WAFA. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  50. ^ "Two new cases of coronavirus bring total in Palestine to 108". WAFA. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  51. ^ "115 COVID-19 cases in Palestine". PNN. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  52. ^ Report 30 March WHO
  53. ^ "Two new corona cases confirmed, one in Ramallah and another in Gaza; total 117". WAFA. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  54. ^ "15 new cases of coronavirus cased in West Bank brings up total in Palestine to 134". WAFA. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  55. ^ "Israel links coronavirus aid for Gaza to recovering soldiers". Reuters. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  56. ^ "Health Ministry: 21 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Palestine; total 155". WAFA. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  57. ^ "UNRWA distributes food aid to families in Gaza". MEMO. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  58. ^ "Palestine confirms five new coronavirus cases". WAFA. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  59. ^ "Palestine confirms new coronavirus case". WAFA. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  60. ^ "PalCOVID-19 cases in Palestine rise to 171". WAFA. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  61. ^ "Premier confirms 22 more cases of COVID-19 bring total up to 193". WAFA. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  62. ^ "معلومات تفصيلية حول مصابي فايروس كورونا وحالات الحجر في فلسطين".

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