Newspapers review: Rising cases of coronavirus focus of dailies

The rising number of patients infected with the novel coronavirus in the occupied Palestinian territories hit the front page headlines in Wednesday’s issue of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies.

The dailies reported Palestinian government spokesman Ibrahim Melhim announcing that five new cases tested positive for coronavirus, officially known as COVID 19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the occupied territories to 44.

Al-Ayyam elaborated that among the five new cases were two Palestinians who returned from travel.

Melhim was also reported in al-Quds saying that the government considers taking additional precautionary measures to fight the outbreak of the pandemic in Bethlehem district.

Premier Mohammad Shtayyeh was reported in the dailies stating that Palestinian workers who work in Israel would be allowed three days to arrange their lodging in their workplaces before the closure of crossings with Israel comes into effect.

Shtayyeh was also reported in al-Ayyam announcing a ban on movement between the occupied territories and Israel will come into effect after three days.

Melhim was also reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida saying that Israeli colonial settlements in the occupied territories have become “epicenters for the pandemic” and that the government directives on combating the pandemic would be strictly implemented.

The dailies also highlighted Israeli extreme measures to fight the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Quds said that Israeli occupation authorities imposed closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip besides to restrictions on the entry of Palestinian workers to Israel.

Elaborating on the restrictions on workers, al-Hayat al-Jadida said that Israeli ‘Defense’ Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Palestinian workers will have to stay in Israel with the employers providing lodging.

It is worth noting that only Palestinians who work in the “sectors essential to the Israeli economy”, including health, agriculture and construction, will be allowed entry.

According to al-Quds, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel has risen to 337.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said that the Israeli military bans soldiers’ exit from bases and place thousands of soldiers under quarantine.

Al-Quds said that all mosques in the Ramallah and al-Bireh district are closed as a precautionary measure to tackle the spread of the disease.

Regionally, al-Quds said that Jordan has decided to suspend the public and private sectors and deployed the military to curb the spread of the virus.

Al-Ayyam elaborated that Jordanian citizens were ordered to stay home, and printed a photo for a Jordan military patrol in front of the Royal Hotel, which serves now as a quarantine center, in Amman.

Furthermore, al-Quds said that the Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem demands that Israeli occupation authorities halt excavations at the Umayyad palaces in the southern part of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and remove scaffoldings from the wall of the Islamic Museum.

It said that 63 Israeli settlers, led by lawmaker Yehuda Glick, barged their way into the mosque compound.

The dailies said that the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has launched a USD $14 million flash appeal to combat coronavirus among Palestinian refugees.

They said that Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons returned their meals in rejection of measures taken by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) against them.

Al-Quds added in this regard that 5,000 detainees are set to commence a series of steps to protest the IPS measures on Friday and Saturday.

Chairman of the Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs Committee Qadri Abu Baker was reported in al-Quds holding Israel responsible for the lives of prisoners who are at the risk of being infected with coronavirus.

This came as Israel has failed to take any precautionary measures to ensure the health of Palestinian detainees and provide them with the required medical attention.

According to al-Quds, Israeli forces set up an observation room to the east of Bethlehem and sealed the entrance to Deir al-Ghusun town, north of Tulkarem, with cement blocks.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said that Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian farmer and chopped down dozens of trees in Bruqin town, west of Salfit city.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors colonial settlement activities in the northern West Bank, was reported in al-Quds saying that settlers, under military protection, were proceeding with the pavement of a settler-only road between Zaatara and Huwwara towns, south of Nablus.

The dailies said that 64 US lawmakers signed a letter calling on the US President Donald Trump’s administration to object the Israeli demolitions of Palestinian houses.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah welcomed the letter.

Al-Ayyam said that another Palestinian victims of the Nusseirat refugee camp tragic fire succumbed to his wounds, rising total death toll to 20.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency