Bethlehem banned after coronavirus instances

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The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and all other places of worship in the West Bank were closed indefinitely after seven residents tested positive for the Corona virus.

The Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency after the new cases were confirmed Thursday last week. Under their orders, the Israeli army enforces a ban. Israelis and Palestinians are prohibited from entering or leaving the city. All tourist and religious sites have been closed indefinitely, and tourists have been banned from the West Bank for an unspecified period.

Tourism is the main industry in Bethlehem; About two million people visited last year.

The Friends of the Holy Land, an ecumenical group that works with churches to help local communities in the region, said in a statement this week: “Although this precaution is understandable and reflects similar situations in other countries, the impact is on the economy in Bethlehem It is expected to be catastrophic, especially before Easter, one of the city's main tourist seasons. "

The group has launched an appeal to support the people they say are already suffering from the fragility of the tourism industry and the lack of social support.

On Monday, 39 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Israel and thousands of people isolated. Energy and tourism stocks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange have declined in line with other stock market trends worldwide. The Palestinian Authority has been reported to consider broader blocking.

Other cities around the world are experiencing a similar curfew at public gatherings. In Italy, where 366 people have died and more than 7,300 people in 20 regions have been infected, the government has introduced strict quarantine measures. Under the new rules, up to 16 million people in Italy now need a travel authorization.

Jonathan LloydCentral Assisi "at the busiest time of the day" last week

The restrictions apply to the Lombardy region and 14 other provinces: Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice. All schools and universities, museums, cinemas and swimming pools in the area have closed.

The UK Department of State has advised against all but essential travel to these areas.

On Sunday, the Italian Bishops' Conference of the RC announced that all public masses and liturgical celebrations, including funerals, would be suspended until April 3. The bishops acknowledged the "suffering and difficulties" that the ban would cause for both priests and Christians, but said they were obliged "to contribute to the protection of public health".

The restrictions apply until April 3. The Italian authorities hope that they can relax in time for Holy Week and Easter.

Pope Francis' weekly address to a general audience on Wednesday will be retransmitted from the Vatican Library to prevent the virus from spreading unnecessarily. The Pope said he felt "a little locked up" under the circumstances.

Last week the Pope also confirmed that the “Economy of Francis” event, scheduled to take place in Assisi on March 26, had been postponed to November because of the outbreak. Around 2000 young people from 115 countries should take part.

The Anglican chaplain of St. Leonard in Assisi, Canon Jonathan Lloyd, said Monday the service had continued in his church.

“There have been a large number of hotel cancellations this week, and local shops and restaurants are practically empty. The small but loyal Anglican congregation of St. Leonard in the city gathers at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and always stays at a distance of two meters in accordance with the new Italian church guidelines. "

Since the identification of the new strain of coronavirus in December last year in Wuhan, China, more than 111,300 people have been infected, 62,661 people have recovered and 3882 people are known to have died from the virus. Many of the dead had health problems.

France has the second largest number of infections in Europe after Italy. One day on Sunday, 1126 cases were reported, including two other members of the National Assembly. Meetings of more than 1,000 people have been banned. Cases in Germany and Spain also doubled over the weekend.

However, it is reported that both China and South Korea have passed the peak of the infection. In South Korea, more than 7,300 cases were confirmed and 50 people died. Infection rates continue to decline in China, where more than 80,000 of the world's cases have been confirmed and about 3,000 of the deaths.

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