RAMALLAH, Monday, April 20, 2020 (WAFA) – As the holy fast month of Ramadan nears, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced today easing of some economic measures in the Palestinian territories, 45 days after imposing a lockdown on the country due to the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Shtayyeh told a press conference in Ramallah that based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, the Emergency Committee and the security services and with the approval of President Mahmoud Abbas, the government has decided to ease some economic measures in the Palestinian territories while preserving public safety and tightening health measures so that a balance between health and the economy can be found.
He added that just as these measures were taken in a timely manner to protect Palestinians from the virus, medical and preventive measures will continue to be strictly provided, while resuming some businesses and economic facilities in different districts on certain days and during set hours.
Shtayyeh said that manufacturing will be allowed to resume in all governorates for export purposes at a rate of 50% of the staff provided that the health and safety conditions are observed, stressing that mosques, churches, and places of gathering will remain closed.
Some small shops, businesses and professions will be allowed to resume on specific days in defined districts.
He added that nurseries, schools, universities and institutes will remain closed and make up programs will be available when necessary, and that the high school Tawjihi exam will be held on May 30 as planned but with certain arrangements.
Regarding workers in Israel, the premier stressed that daily movement of workers between their workplaces inside Israel and their homes is prohibited until further notice, noting that 79 percent of the corona cases in Palestine were from the workers and people who interacted with them.
He stressed that while the Palestinian Authority was able to control the problems created by tourists and travelers, it is left with one hole, which is the workers who travel daily into Israel and then return home, some infected with the disease and they pass it on their relatives and communities.
Corona cases in Israel has topped 13,000 and more than 160 deaths, compared to a little bit over 300 cases in Palestine and two deaths.
Shtayyeh said penalties will be imposed on workers violating the emergency instructions until their transit is arranged with Israel according to health measure that protect their safety and the safety of their communities, stressing at the same time that work in the illegal Israeli settlements is completely prohibited.
As for the banking and the financial sector, Shtayyeh said that the stock market will reopen as of May 03 and banks in some cities will reopen at reduced staff while in others, such as Ramallah and Bethlehem, there will be no change on their current operation.
No change is made to the work in the ministries and public institutions, where employees are to continue to work from their governorates and cities.
Shtayyeh indicated that people will be allowed to move during the month of Ramadan between 10:00 am to 7:30 pm in all governorates, and that movement will be strictly prohibited in all governorates after 7:30 pm in an effort to restrict visits and social gathering for families, a Ramadan tradition.