Palestine eases lockdown measures

Ramallah, April 4 (IANS) Following a flattening coronavirus curve, Palestine has decided to ease lockdown restrictions across the West Bank starting from Sunday until April 12..

In a statement on Saturday, Palestine government spokesman Ibrahim Melhem announced a set of measures for easing restrictions, while keeping some preventative measures, including wearing masks and social distancing requirements, reports Xinhua news agency.

Melhem announced the reopening of kindergartens and all public and private schools for students from first to sixth grade on April 11.

But remote learning will continue for the remaining grades, he said.

Commercial stores and restaurants will be allowed to reopen while maintaining strict health measures and at a maximum capacity of 50 per cent of their staff, Melhem said, adding that banks are asked to operate at an emergency pace.

He said the full lockdown on Fridays and Saturdays and the night lockdown from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. on all weekdays will remain in effect.

Palestine has also extended its state of emergency by a month in a bid to consolidate achievements in coronavirus control.

The state of emergency was imposed for the first time in March 2020 following the discovery of the first cases of the disease in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

It has been either renewed or extended since then.

Palestine has so far reported over 248,000 coronavirus cases and 2,681 deaths.

So far, at least 65,366 people have been vaccinated in the West Bank and 24,838 people in the Gaza Strip.

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