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Israeli forces dismantle makeshift Palestinian coronavirus testing clinic

Israeli forces, wearing protective face masks, talk to a man as they stand guard in front of the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, after Israel banned non-essential movement and ordered the closure of all leisure and entertainment venues in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, on March 27, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli forces have raided a makeshift Palestinian coronavirus testing clinic in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, dismantling it and arresting four activists who had been involved in setting the health center up.

The clinic, which had been set up in a local mosque in the Palestinian Silwan neighborhood, was closed on Tuesday night due to being operated in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The closure came even as Palestinians are combating the new coronavirus epidemic with very scarce resources.

“There is a shortage of coronavirus tests in Silwan, where doctors say there are 40 confirmed cases and where overcrowded living conditions could lead to a rapid spread of the virus,” said the director of the makeshift clinic that was closed.

Israel has deprived Palestinians in the East Jerusalem al-Quds of the necessary health services to fight the coronavirus, and has confiscated food items and refrained from disinfecting public places in the eastern sector of the city.

On Tuesday, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said Palestine had requested cooperation from Israel to combat the epidemic but instead received incursions, killings, and demolitions from the occupying regime.

The new coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, first emerged in China in December last year before spreading to the other parts of the world.

The virus has so far infected 2,084,486 people worldwide, and over 134,677 have died, according to a running count by

Israel says the new coronavirus has so far infected 12,501 people and killed 132 others.

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