PA announces state of emergency, IDF imposes closure of Bethlehem after several cases of coronavirus

BREAKING: The Palestinian Authority announced a one-month state of emergency and the IDF will be imposing a closure on Bethlehem, following several cases of coronavirus.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has ordered the IDF to seal Bethlehem, Beit Sahir and Beit Jala, and no entrance into or out of the cities will be allowed starting at 6 am tomorrow.

A decree published by the office of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas declares a state of emergency for the entire Arab authority for the next 30 days.

Abbas ordered the closure of schools, universities and government institutions. Inter-city travel will only be possible in emergencies.

The PA Health Ministry earlier Thursday banned visitors from entering its territory in Judea and Samaria and placed the city of Bethlehem on partial lockdown due to a coronavirus outbreak at a popular hotel in the adjacent city of Beit Jala.

The ministry says the hotel hosted Greek tourists who were diagnosed with the virus after leaving its premises. Seven employees are in quarantine.

In addition, the Church of the Nativity is to indefinitely shut down.

A man from central Israel who recently returned from Italy has become the 17th person to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan seeks to ban Arabs from Judea and Samaria from attending Friday Muslim prayers at the Temple Mount and limiting them to just Israeli Arabs and Arab residents of East Jerusalem, over fears of the spread of the coronavirus.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, no soldiers will be allowed to leave the country starting at noon on Friday, the IDF announced.

The decision was made by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi in accordance with the Health Ministry’s guidelines and following a situational assessment with the General Staff.