Ramadan is underway in the tightly packed Gaza Strip. Officials have eased some restrictions on social distancing allowing Palestinians a reprieve from isolation to buy sweets and gifts to celebrate the Islamic holy month. 

Shops and street vendors opened for a first time in weeks, with many returning to work wearing face masks. Ordinarily Palestinians observe Ramadan by fasting sunrise and sunset and visiting relatives, praying, and shopping for gifts after nightfall. Because health officials closed mosques in March, many people have cleared space in and around their homes for prayers instead. Some used their balconies, others moved furniture from their living rooms. 

Palestinian chefs wearing protective masks prepare meals for breakfast during Ramadan for people who are in quarantine in Gaza City on April 30, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Palestinian chefs wearing protective masks prepare meals for breakfast during Ramadan for people who are in quarantine in Gaza City on April 30, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Um Iyad, 55, prepares qatayef, a traditional sweet pancake popular during the Ramadan holiday, in Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip on April 27, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Um Iyad, 55, prepares qatayef, a traditional sweet pancake popular during the Ramadan holiday, in Deir al-Balah in the center of the Gaza Strip on April 27, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
A Palestinian vendor sells carob juice at a market during in Gaza City on May 4, 2020. Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by praying during the night and abstaining from eating and drinking during the period between sunrise and sunset. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian vendor sells carob juice at a market during in Gaza City on May 4, 2020. Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by praying during the night and abstaining from eating and drinking during the period between sunrise and sunset. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Volunteers prepares food for Palestinians in need of aid during the month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 25, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Volunteers prepares food for Palestinians in need of aid during the month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 25, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

However, with half of Gaza’s roughly 2 million people unemployed and around three-quarters of the population living off some form of food assistance, crowds were unavoidable at charities and restaurants distributing food. 

As tradition, groups of Palestinian Christians packaged dates and water for Muslims to break their fast with and distributed the parcels to drivers on Gaza’s roads at sunset. 

Twenty Palestinians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip, of whom all were located inside 13 government-run isolation centers. Five are being treated in isolation rooms inside of a hospital. Thus far no confirmed cases have reached the general public. 

A Palestinian christian distributes dates and water to Muslims, just before breaking their fast in Gaza City on May 2, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian christian distributes dates and water to Muslims, just before breaking their fast in Gaza City on May 2, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian christian packages dates and water for Muslims to distribute to drivers breaking their fast at sunset while still on the road, in Gaza City on May 2, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian christian packages dates and water for Muslims to distribute to drivers breaking their fast at sunset while still on the road, in Gaza City on May 2, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian family breaks their fast at the site of their destroyed house in Khan Yunis southern in Gaza City on April 26, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
A Palestinian family breaks their fast at the site of their destroyed house in Khan Yunis southern in Gaza City on April 26, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

To limit the entry of the coronavirus and prevent its spread, health officials required Palestinians returning to Gaza to spend 14 days in quarantine. The first cycle of isolated returnees was released last week and another 1,000 remain in isolation at government centers. 

Tests to verify the coronavirus are running short in Gaza. Around 4,600 have been administered since the pandemic began. By comparison, around 28,000 tests were conducted in the same period in the West Bank where 355 tested positive for COVID-19. 

Alaa Miqdad dresses as a clown and performs for children via live broadcast from his home, to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Gaza City April 25, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour)
Alaa Miqdad dresses as a clown and performs for children via live broadcast from his home, to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in Gaza City April 25, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour)
A Palestinian family reads from the Quran during a night prayer known as ''Tarawih'' in their home after mosques are closed in measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, in Gaza City on April 24, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
A Palestinian family reads from the Quran during a night prayer known as ”Tarawih” in their home after mosques are closed in measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, in Gaza City on April 24, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Former Palestinian employees at UNRWA break their fast during Ramadan at a protest outside headquarters in Gaza City on April 26, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Palestinian imam at the Omari mosque prays while the building is closed to the public. It was shut down as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, in Gaza City on May 1, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Palestinian imam at the Omari mosque prays while the building is closed to the public. It was shut down as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, in Gaza City on May 1, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)
Palestinians decorate the streets during the month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 25, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinians decorate the streets during the month of Ramadan in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 25, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
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From Canada: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2565&fbclid=IwAR2_fY9dlYsdsD01rLl8Ax-DpBNb1jPJWs8MWuZgegWyu5JlJ7nNZ8QrhQk Petition e-2565 (Foreign affairs) May 7/20 Petition to the Government of Canada. Initiated by Karen Rodman from Toronto, Ontario Whereas: The Palestinian people in Gaza have been under blockade for 13 years; This has resulted in accelerated de-development, and led the United Nations to indicate that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020; COVID-19 has grave potential for human catastrophe in this most densely populated area of the world; Article 56 of the… Read more »

https://daysofpalestine.com/post/14218/58-norwegian-groups-and-parties-call-for-action-to-end-gaza-siege#.XratGd7Rv8A.twitter “58 Norwegian groups and parties call for action to end Gaza siege” May 09 2020 EXCERPT: “58 Norwegian organizations and political parties have demanded their country’s foreign ministry to put pressure on Israel to end its blockade on the Gaza Strip in particular. “Last Tuesday, representatives of the organizations convened at the ministry of foreign affairs in Oslo to hand over a letter in this regard to foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide. “’In response… Read more »

There’s cause for some optimism , as Israel begins to reopen, although so far the reopening is chaotic. Schools, kindergartens, public transportation are begining to reopen but with rather draconian restrictions.
Coronavirus update:
Israel: 16,477 cases
11,439 recovered
252 fatalities
PA: 375 cases
263 recovered
2 fatalities

and see here:
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-to-approve-230m-loan-to-the-palestinian-authority-for-coronavirus-response-1.8835728