Dispatch from Bethlehem: A glimmer of hope after two weeks under lockdown

Released from quarantine in the Angel Hotel, Beit Jala , 20 March 2020

Yumna Patel writes in Mondoweiss:

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for the people of Bethlehem. It’s been 15 days since a state of emergency was declared and the city was put under lockdown after four cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

Since then, the number of people in the streets has steadily declined, as the number of confirmed cases has continued to rise, albeit slowly, relative to the rapidly growing crisis on the other side of the wall.

It goes without saying that people are scared. You can’t get through a single conversation without mention of “corona” in the first five seconds.

But despite the lockdown and increased restrictions on movement throughout the city, there was an air of optimism in the city. For the most part, people were happy with the degree of success with the PA was apparently dealing with the situation.

Anyone you spoke to proudly mentioned that Palestine was the “second best country”, behind China, to deal with and rapidly respond to the coronavirus. After numerous Google searches, I’ve still yet to find confirmation of that fact.

Accurate or not, the sentiment behind the rumor was clearly having a positive effect on people.  After all, over the course of two weeks, we still had less than 50 confirmed cases, compared to 500 in Israel.

More ….

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