(Last update: 12 January 2021)

In response to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19, or 2019-nCoV) in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and Lebanon, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is prioritising infection prevention and control, and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers.

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We are responding through our teams and partners on the ground in the West Bank, Gaza and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon; supporting Ministries of Health, East Jerusalem NGO hospitals and Palestine Red Crescent Society hospitals. We are prioritising infection prevention and containment, providing hygiene kits to quarantined families, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers, COVID-19 testing kits and antiseptics/disinfectants to help prevent further spread of the disease.  MAP is also providing Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) respirators and essential medicines and disposables to Gaza’s hospitals, to treat COVID-19 patients with severe breathing difficulties.

At all times, MAP’s response will be guided by priority lists provided by the World Health Organization and Ministries of Health, whilst our well-established local and regional procurement systems will ensure that essential items reach hospitals, primary healthcare centres and community partners as quickly as possible. 

Situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel

Currently there are 167,674 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and 1,784 deaths. In the West Bank 121,587 cases have been confirmed, including 18,706 in East Jerusalem. There have been 1,331 deaths in the West Bank. The southern governorate of Hebron has been hardest hit, with at least 26,963 confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization. Due to a sharp rise in the number of new coronavirus cases, on 17 December the Palestinian Authority announced additional measures across the West Bank to slow the spread of the virus. A night curfew, as well as a weekend lockdown, is in place until 17 January. 

In Gaza 46,087 cases have been reported and sadly 453 deaths. A weekend curfew from Thursday evening to Sunday morning was extended on 30 December until further notice. 

In Gaza and the West Bank all Palestinian citizens coming back from abroad are placed under a mandatory quarantine in quarantine centres. The latest local updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) are available on their website here.

There are currently 481,306 confirmed cases in Israel and 3,631 deaths. All travellers entering Israel, including Israeli nationals, must undergo 14 days of home quarantine. MAP has therefore suspended visiting medical missions to the West Bank and Gaza for this period. 

Situation in Lebanon

Currently there are 222,391 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lebanon and 1,629 deaths. UNRWA has reported that 3,801 Palestinian refugees have been confirmed COVID-19 positive and 144 Palestinians sadly died since the start of the outbreak in Lebanon on 21 February. On 7 January Lebanon began a 25-day lockdown after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

The latest local updates from the WHO are available on their website here.

MAP’s community midwives continue to provide essential care to expectant and new mothers and their new-born babies in Palestinian refugee camps. MAP has procured face masks, antiseptic lotions and gloves so the midwives can safely conduct individual health education sessions.

MAP has procured additional supplies of face masks and hand sanitiser for our midwives. They have also received hard copies of the WHO printed corona virus material and are reporting daily to our Maternal and Child Health centres and visiting beneficiaries in the camps as usual.

The latest global updates from the WHO are available here.

Travel and health advice

The latest travel advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding COVID-19 is available on their website here.

The WHO’s health and prevention advice to the public is available here, and advice from NHS England here.