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Gaza Declares Lockdown after Reporting First COVID-19 Cases in General Population
By Staff, Agencies
Gaza reported its first cases of COVID-19 in the general population Monday, as authorities confirmed four infections in a refugee camp and security forces declared a full lockdown for 48 hours.
The cases were from a single family in central Gaza, a government spokesman said, amid concern over the territory's potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital capacity.
"A full curfew will be imposed starting tonight and in all of the Gaza Strip," said Salama Marouf, chairman of the government's media office.
As rumors spread, people raced to supermarkets to stock up on food and hygiene supplies. Police vehicles toured the streets using loudspeakers to urge Gazans to abide by the curfew.
Gaza's health ministry said the cases were uncovered after a woman traveled to the West Bank, where she tested positive. A health ministry spokesman urged everyone who might have visited a supermarket outside a hospital in central Gaza to quarantine themselves and report to medics immediately.
Until Monday, the 360 square-kilometer coastal strip, home to 2 million Palestinians, had reported no infections outside quarantine centers.
Arrivals had to spend 21 days in the centers.
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