Tourists banned from Bethlehem due to coronavirus fears

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Palestinian security forces seal off the Angel Hotel in the town of Beit Jala following suspected cases of coronavirus COVID-19, on March 5, 2020. - The Palestinian health ministry called for local churches, mosques and other institutions to close after suspected cases had been detected at the hotel in the Bethlehem area, the first in the Palestinian territories. (Photo by Musa Al SHAER / AFP) (Photo by MUSA AL SHAER/AFP via Getty Images)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has ordered a ban on all tourists entering PA areas, which include Bethlehem and all the major cities of the West Bank. 

In addition, the PA has ordered all schools, restaurants and places of religious congregation in Bethlehem and surrounding towns and villages to close for two weeks amid fears of a possible coronavirus outbreak in the city. Among the churches affected is Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

The announcement is connected to a visit to the town of Beit Jala, which sits next to Bethlehem, by a group of tourists from Greece. One of the tour group later tested positive for the coronavirus on their return home. 

All workers at the Beit Jala hotel where the tourists stayed during their time in the city have been tested for the virus, the hotel told CNN, but results are not yet known.

Source: CNN News

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