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Coronavirus: Palestinians record first death from pandemic in West Bank

Palestinian Ministry of Health has registered 64 confirmed coronavirus cases to date
Israeli border policemen look on as Palestinians walk by, all wearing protective masks amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Jerusalem's Old City, on 25 March 2020 (AFP)

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health has recorded the first death due to the coronavirus pandemic in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

A woman in her 60s from the village of Biddu, north of Jerusalem, died after testing positive in the morning. Her daughter and son-in-law also tested positive for the virus, known officially as Covid-19. The woman was transferred to the Hugo Chavez hospital in the West Bank town of Turmsayya.

Ibrahim Melhem, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said that as of Wednesday evening, 64 people have tested positive for the virus in Palestinian territories, 16 of whom are recovering.

Melhem said that the woman, still to be identified, did not travel outside her hometown, and it is possible she contracted Covid-19 from someone coming from outside the village, adding that her son is a worker inside Israel. 

The health ministry also reported that a twenty-year-old woman has tested positive in the city of Ramallah, but it is unclear how she contracted the virus at this time.

Melhem urged Palestinians to stay at home, and for workers coming from inside Israel to quarantine for 14 days.

The Israeli army is preparing a military lockdown for its checkpoints that will seal many Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank.