Eid holiday brings new COVID-19 fears

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Life, for the most part, has returned back to normal in Bethlehem and most parts of the West Bank. 

Last week we saw Palestinian citizens coming head to head with Palestinian police over the opening of stores and restaurants. 

But this week, save mosques, churches, and schools and universities, most sectors of the economy remain open and unhindered.

Restaurants have opened up for the first time in two months, with most offering delivery-only services. 

The Palestinian government has reported no new COVID-19 cases in the occupied territory in five days and says they have conducted 4,500 tests in the past five days alone — a step up from the average daily testing rate over the past two months. 

The total number of recovered cases in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem has reached 382. One hundred sixty-two cases are still infected, 96 of which are in East Jerusalem. 

All cases are reported to be in stable condition, with no one in the ICU, alleviating fears of the virus overwhelming Palestine’s flailing healthcare system. 

More than 14,000 people remain in home quarantine, while more than 47,000 people have completed quarantine orders. 

For many of us, however, the current situation seems too good to be true. 

As we enter the last 10 days of Ramadan, people are getting ready for Eid celebrations. For Palestinians, that means visiting family members from around their respective cities and the surrounding towns and villages.

Thousands of Palestinian laborers working in Israel are also expected to return to the West Bank in the days before Eid. 

While the government says they plan to test and quarantine returning workers, there’s no guaranteeing that every worker will follow isolation orders, especially during Eid. 

For now, people are enjoying the return to normal, even if it’s just for a little while.