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As Israel’s COVID-19 crisis swells, Palestine reports 80% recovery rate

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While the rate of COVID-19 infections in Israel has skyrocketed in the last week, Palestinian health officials are reporting more promising numbers, with the Ministry of Health reporting an 80% recovery rate among COVID-19 patients in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 

According to Israeli health officials, Israel currently has over 65,000 active cases of the virus, while numbers collected from the Palestinian Ministry of Health indicated that there were 9,542 active cases in the oPt.

Israel reinstated a full coronavirus lockdown on Friday, one of the few countries in the world to do so following initial lockdowns in the spring of this year. 

Last week, Israel reported over 8,000 new cases of the virus in a single day, a record for the country, whose COVID-19 mortality rate per capita surpassed that of the United States on Tuesday. 

The Israeli Health Ministry reported 197 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total in Israel to 234,060 — 65,511 of which are active cases. It is important to note that the ministry reported lower testing rates during the ongoing high holidays.  

Under the new lockdown, which is predicted to be extended past the initial two-week deadline, all non-essential businesses have been closed, all non-essential movement within cities and towns has been restricted, and people are also restricted to staying within a designated distance of their homes or risk incurring a hefty fine. 

Only those with special permits, like health workers and government officers, have been allowed certain exemptions when it comes to moving around the country. 

The Israeli government has faced significant backlash over the lockdown due to the current Jewish holiday season, and ongoing anti-Netanyahu protests are planned in the coming weeks. 

Meanwhile, despite speculation that the Palestinian Authority would also implement a similar lockdown, life in the West Bank has continued on as normal — albeit with much less traffic coming in from occupied Eat Jerusalem and Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

While lockdown measures remain in place in Gaza, restaurants, businesses, government offices, and schools remained open in the West Bank, where 335 new cases of the virus were reported in the last 24 hours. 

According to MOH data, the total number of recorded COVID-29 cases in the oPt stands at 50,115, with 40,213 reported as being in recovery. 

Despite the notable fact that the Palestinian MOH tests at a much lower rate than Israel, health officials in the West Bank have celebrated having above a 80% recovery rate, all while urging citizens to continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public.