QUARANTINE - DAY 5 - 10th March 2020
Last night authorities announced that they may close crossings between Jordan and Palestine in the hope of restricting further spread of the disease. This is the only route out of Palestine for many West Bankers. There has been news today of olive trees and vines being uprooted on the outskirts of Bethlehem causing alarm that Israelis may be using the state of emergency in Bethlehem as an opportunity to seize land.
A young woman who lives with family in the centre of Bethlehem explains her fears:
On Thursday 5 / 3 / 2020, the first cases of coronavirus were announced in Bethlehem. We were worried and very afraid because Bethlehem is small and we live in the centre of the city. When the infected cases were announced, the Palestinian government announced an immediate state of emergency in the city for thirty days, without warning.
I believe that we will die with or without the coronavirus. I believe that every death has a cause and no one knows how but Allah (Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted) (Luqman;34).
Coronavirus was not the main reason for my anxiety; also the state of emergency itself and how this will affect our lives; what will happen to those who lost their jobs or lost their only source of income? Will assistance be provided to people during the emergency period? My mother suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, so she needs special treatment and monthly treatment and medication. This virus is dangerous for her and for my father - he suffers from asthma. So in order to keep them safe my brothers search every day for preventative equipment such as masks, in pharmacies.
No one in my family is a government worker; all of them work in the private sector. I have two brothers who are married, one of whom has three children, they have both lost their income for a whole month without salary and there is no financial support for them. I also have a lawyer brother who has lost his source of income temporarily due to the closures. The authority’s main priority is to prevent Coronavirus from spreading, which is an important and they are taking the right steps to limit it, but I hope they will help the citizens of Bethlehem who have lost income so that we can look after such financial essentials as electricity, water and other bills. We are worried and fearful.