BETHLEHEM – On Thursday, March 5, 2020, the Palestinian Ministry of Health activated a contingency plan in the Bethlehem Governorate after the discovering of novel Coronavirus cases in a hotel in the city of Beit Jala. As part of the plan, the ministry imposed quarantine measures on churches and mosques in the Bethlehem Governorate for 14 days.
The plan also requires the closing of all educational institutions and training centers as well as the cancellation of conferences, seminars and all social and sports events for 14 days.
For the tourism sector, the ministry recommended the halt and cancellation of hotel reservations for international tourists and visitors.
The letter issued by the ministry advised the health sector to abide by the health ministry regulations when dealing with international groups who are currently present in Bethlehem.
On February 27, 2020, the Catholic Church in the Holy Land issued a letter of precautionary guidelines to be followed during the celebration of Masses, in a bid to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. The guidelines included the receiving of Communion by hand and the emptying of water fonts.
On Wednesday, March 4, the Israeli Health Minister and Prime Minister announced that internationals coming to Israel from France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Austria will have to be quarantined for 14 days. On February 27, the health ministry introduced this measure on travelers coming from Italy and some Asian countries. The ministry also banned all public gatherings of more than 5,000 people.