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Gaza reports first death case of COVID-19

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The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza on Saturday reported the first death from COVID-19 in the Palestinian enclave.

In a press statement emailed to reporters, the ministry said the death case is a 77-year-old woman from the district of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip who died at the quarantine hospital near the border with Egypt earlier in the day.

The woman, identified as Fadila Abu Reida, returned from Egypt last week through the Rafah Border Crossing, it added.

A total of 55 people in Gaza have been infected with the coronavirus since March 5, according to the statement.

The death toll of the virus in the Palestinian territories has reached five, with two in the West Bank, two in East Jerusalem, and one in the Gaza Strip.

Both the Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank and Hamas, ruler of the Gaza Strip, recently tightened the precautionary measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Eyad al-Bozzom, spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of interior, told a news briefing in Gaza that no infection cases have been recorded in the populated areas in the Gaza Strip.

So far, 16 patients have recovered from COVID-19 in Gaza, while the others are in stable conditions, he revealed.

(XINHUA)

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Spotlight: From waste into eco-friendly products, Gazan youths think big

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A group of seven Palestinian young women have launched a local initiative to recycle the residential waste into eco-friendly products as a step to reduce the environmental pollution.

Glass, plastic, cardboard, metal bottles and clothing are among the most common domestic waste in the Gaza Strip which suffers from the acute garbage issue.

According to a 2018 report of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average household waste in the Gaza Strip stands at 2,150 tons every day.

Burning garbage is a standard tool used by the residents in the impoverished coastal enclave to get rid of the accumulated trash in dozens of places across Gaza.

However, burning does more harm than good.

“It is no longer a secret that burning can cause long-term health problems,” said Etaf Hamad, an organizer of the initiative, adding that “living in an unhealthy environment is increasing the risk of viral infections including the coronavirus.”

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January and its quick spread across the globe, the World Health Organization has urged people to live in a healthy environment and maintain their hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.

That, however, has proven to be difficult in Gaza, said Hamad, stressing that Gazans are suffering from the lack of medical staff, equipment and treatment, which prompted her and a group of other volunteers to come up with the recycling initiative that aimed at protecting the environment.

Moreover, they are also trying to involve their children in the initiative.

Encouraging mothers like themselves, the organizers had shared their videos on Facebook, calling on others to join in.

The videos went viral, with many other women deciding to participate, said Hamad.

“Women are the ones who are raising children and can thus bring about the much needed change,” Hamad explained.

Dania Abdul-Rahman from Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip was busy with her kids making soft puppets by using clothing and manufacturing flowerpots from plastic bottles.

The 42-year-old mother of five told Xinhua that she was worried about the spread of the virus in the most populated area, especially in light of medical equipment’s shortage.

“The initiative has helped me to overcome my fears and take matters into my own hands, contributing to the creation of a healthy environment,” explained Abdul-Rahman, who also taught her kids on the basics of the recycling.

In addition to that, Abdul-Rahman uses her newly acquired talent to make some money by making small puppets used as accessories for wedding halls and birthday parties.

Earning about 150 U.S. dollars a month, she said that it is enough to support her family amid the current uncertainty.

Another volunteer, Lamees Ahmed, who is only 11 years old, showed her friends a small bag that she has just made by herself from her old blouse.

“My mother taught me how to use my old clothes to turn them into something completely different,” the young girl told Xinhua, adding that she will encourage her friends to adopt the recycling mechanism.

“Such initiatives will help the community to reduce their waste that could harm the environment,” Chairman of National Institute for Environment and Development Ahmed Hilles told Xinhua, adding that 80 percent of Gaza’s waste is made of organic constituents.

He noted that his institute had implemented dozens of initiatives to help the local families reduce their domestic waste and recycle most of the organic garbage.

The Palestinian government, as well as the area’s various environmental institutes have to support all youth initiatives that help the people to protect themselves from the disease,” Hilles added.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian fishermen work at port in Gaza City

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Gaza reports 3 new COVID-19 cases: health officials

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The Hamas-run ministry of health said in a press statement that three new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip.

The statement said that the total number of cases has risen to 58 in the Gaza Strip and that the new cases are of Palestinians held at quarantine centers who came two weeks ago from Egypt.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila told a news briefing held in Ramallah that no new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Palestine for the fifth day in a row, adding that eight cases had recovered on Tuesday.

So far, the total number of infected cases reached 605 in all Palestinian districts including five deaths and 483 recoveries.

Life in the West Bank returned to normal as the Palestinian government decided to lift most of the tight precautionary measures.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian PM says to deal with Gaza issues through int’l third parties

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The Palestinian government on Monday said it will deal with all affairs related to Gaza Strip through international third parties after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the abolition of all agreements with Israel and the United States.

“Anything we need to send to Gaza, we will send through the International Red Cross Society and the United Nations, and in all cases, we will remain committed to our people wherever they may be,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye at a press conference in Ramallah city.

Regarding the patients from Gaza who need medical care, Ishtaye said that they will be treated inside the strip, especially cancer patients, as medicine and medical equipment will be sent to the coastal enclave through the World Health Organization.

The prime minister said that services such as personal documents or passports for residents of Gaza will also be delivered through an international third party.

Meanwhile, the government is still studying a solution to the issue of access of goods into the Gaza Strip through the Israel-controlled border crossings, he said.

Last Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the abolition of all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States in protest against the Israeli plan to annex parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, and apply Israeli laws on settlements built in the occupied territory.

(XINHUA)

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Gaza reports 29 new COVID-19 cases over 3 days: official

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A senior Palestinian official announced on Thursday that 29 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded during the past three days in the Gaza Strip.

Yousef Abu al-Reesh, director general of the Hamas-run Ministry of Health told a news briefing that the total number of the coronavirus cases in the Gaza Strip has reached 49 since March 5.

Al-Reesh told reporters that the 29 new cases are of Palestinians who had recently returned to the Gaza Strip through Rafah crossing point with Egypt and Erez crossing with Israel.

The official noted that the Health Ministry is studying the possibility of imposing a curfew on the Gaza Strip during the days of the Eid al-Fitr holiday which is expected to start on Saturday for three days.

Meanwhile, Khalil Al-Hayya, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, told the news briefing that Hamas has decided to completely close Rafah and Erez crossing points with Egypt and Israel for those who want to return to the Gaza Strip until the end of June.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian employees sterilize mosque in Gaza City

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Palestinian employees sterilize a mosque as a preventive measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Gaza City, May 21, 2020. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

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Palestinian workers prepare desserts “Konafa” at restaurant in Gaza City

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A Palestinian worker prepares a dessert “Konafa” at a restaurant in Gaza City, on May 20, 2020. Konafa is a traditional dessert served during the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

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Gaza reports 7 new COVID-19 cases: spokesman

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The spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of health in Gaza said on Wednesday night that seven new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the Gaza Strip.

Ashraf al-Qedra told a news briefing held in Gaza city that the new cases are of Palestinians that had returned from Egypt last week through Rafah crossing point on the borders with the Gaza Strip.

He told reporters the total number of cases infected with the deadly virus has reached 30 cases since March 5, adding that 16 of them had recovered and the other 14 are receiving medical treatment in stable conditions.

“The Health Ministry in Gaza and other governmental establishments follow a series of precautionary measures to fight the spread of the virus in the Gaza Strip,” said al-Qedra.

He added that 1,630 Palestinians, who recently returned to Gaza through Rafah crossing point with Egypt and Erez crossing point with Israel, are held in quarantine at 16 medical centers.

(XINHUA)

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Boys poured with water to stay cool during hot weather in Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis

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A Palestinian boy is poured with water to stay cool during hot weather on the outskirts of southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on May 19, 2020. (Photo by Yasser Qudih/Xinhua)

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