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Palestine demands medical supplies to fight novel coronavirus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian security forces man a checkpoint to control movement on a main entrance to the city of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank amid efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, on March 23, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

A top Palestinian official says the Palestinian Authority has submitted a request to several countries for medical supplies, including diagnostic test kits, as it is struggling to cope with the rising cases of COVID-19 with its limited resources and weak healthcare system.

“There is a serious shortage of medical supplies, including test kits and sets, to combat the virus in Palestinian territories,” Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, said in a brief press statement on Thursday.

“Intensive efforts are made by contacting several countries to bring the needed test kits” to Palestine, he added.

Moreover, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has reached out to his counterparts in a number of regional countries to garner financial and moral support for Palestine’s efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates announced in a statement that the 65-year-old diplomat held telephone conversations with Saudi and Kuwaiti foreign ministers Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad Al Sabah as well as the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Yousef al-Othaimeen over the issue.

Separately, Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said that while Palestine is battling coronavirus with very limited resources, Israeli authorities continue to raze Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank.

“As Palestine is battling coronavirus with very scarce resources, Israeli occupation forces entered Ein ad-Duyuk at-Tahta village in Ariha (Jericho) governorate today, and demolished three homes. Is this what some refer as ‘cooperation’ to fight the virus? It is rather another Israeli crime against peace,” Erekat said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“Dozens of Palestinian workers are also dumped at checkpoints (across the West Bank) in a show of the immoral corruption of the Occupation. Complete halt to the Israeli occupation is a basic requirement for a just and lasting peace,” the statement pointed out.

Ibrahim Melhem, the spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, told a news briefing in the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday that 15 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Palestinian territories, raising the total number to 86.

The senior Palestinian official said the 15 new cases were from the village of Beddo, which lies northwest of Jerusalem al-Quds.

They were infected “after interacting with the Palestinian woman who was declared dead (from coronavirus) on Wednesday,” said Melhem, adding more precautionary measures will be taken in the village.

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