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Palestinians start ‘cautiously returning’ to normal life in West Bank

Palestinians start ‘cautiously returning’ to normal life in West Bank

Mosques, churches and businesses in the occupied West Bank will reopen on Tuesday in an easing of coronavirus restrictions, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has said. It is time to “cautiously return life to normal” now that infection rates have slowed, Shtayyeh added.

The Palestinian Authority declared a health emergency in March and imposed lockdowns after the first cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed 423 cases of Covid-19 in the West Bank and two deaths. In Gaza, which is run by the Palestinian Authority’s rival, the Islamist group Hamas, 54 coronavirus cases and one death have been recorded.

The reopening of places of worship, shops and factories in the West Bank on Tuesday will coincide with the last day of the Eid El-Fitr festival, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Government ministries and offices will reopen on Wednesday and checkpoints, set up to limit traffic between West Bank cities, will be removed.