Palestine | COVID 19 (coronavirus)
Bethlehem is now officially on lock down and the West Bank has more or less been shut down. The streets in Bethlehem and Ramallah were nearly empty this week, with most shops closed.
Israel, which controls the West Bank, placed Bethlehem on lockdown last week, banning Israelis and Palestinians from entering or leaving the town. Bethlehem is not only a sight of religious pilgrimage but also a source of tourism for Palestine.
We off the following prayer for Bethlehem
Lord, your son Jesus Christ, travelled through the towns and villages of this land “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Grant your grace in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love. Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.
(Taken from the Sabeel Wave of Prayer – Thursday 19 March)
We think especially at this time of the people in Gaza. Many of us are anxious at the prospect of being on ‘lock-down’ at the moment. In Gaza, people already are forced to live under blockade and are living prisoners. As of today no cases have yet been confirmed in Gaza, although over 1,500 people in the besieged territory are now reported to be living in self-isolation at home. Schools in both the West Bank and Gaza are closed until the end of March. The World Health Organization says the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is very high. Due to overcrowding, the poor state of the healthcare system and the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the thought of a outbreak in Gaza is horrific. This is why our campaigning work is so, so important. Gaza should not be shut off from the world and its resources.
We can now confirm the first cases of the virus have been diagnosed in Gaza.
We will keep you updated regarding the situation in Gaza, Bethlehem and the West Bank.