WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Just as in the Israeli-occupied territories, where the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, authorities in the West Bank are also scratching their heads over ways to handle the strain, believed to be 70 percent more contagious than the original virus.
Recently, Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Al Kaila said that the Delta variant was responsible for 95 percent of new coronavirus cases, and that it was spreading quickly in all towns and cities.
On Saturday, more than 500 new cases were registered in the West Bank, pushing the overall number of patients to nearly 7,000.
Mahdy Rashid, the Palestinian official in charge of the coronavirus file in Ramallah, says the situation might spiral out of control if restrictions are not adhered to.
“We have adopted a number of health instructions since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Palestinian territories last March. And if the public doesn’t adhere to these rules, the situation could soon deteriorate”.
When the virus was at its peak in the West Bank, authorities imposed a number of restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
Aside from imposing a lockdown in February, they also limited the number of people allowed in indoor and outdoor areas, they called on the public to maintain social distance, and emphasized the need for hygiene.
Rashid is calling on the international community to step up efforts in helping the Palestinians to overcome the current crisis.
So far, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have received more than a million vaccines but only 9.2 percent of its 5 million people have been fully inoculated.