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Palestinians announce West Bank tourism ban over coronavirus

March 06, 2020

BETHLEHEM: The Palestinians announced measures to prevent the spread of new coronavirus Thursday, after the first suspected cases in the occupied West Bank. The response included a two-week ban on tourists visiting cities and sites in the occupied West Bank, and the cancellation of major sporting events and other large gatherings. The Church of the Nativity, built on the Bethlehem location revered as the birthplace of Jesus, was closed Thursday afternoon and is among the sites expected to be shuttered until March 20, an AFP correspondent said. “We have decided to prevent the entry of tourists for a period of 14 days and to prevent hotels in all cities from receiving foreigners,” tourism minister Rula Maayah told AFP. The measures followed the first suspected cases in the West Bank of the disease, which has spread rapidly across the globe after emerging in China.