Palestinian COVID Cases Decline in West Bank, Remain High in Gaza

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Alkaila announced on Sunday, April 18, that 1,618 new coronavirus infections, 28 deaths, and 1773 recoveries were recorded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the previous 24 hours.

In her daily report on the coronavirus pandemic, Alkaila said that 18 corona-related deaths were recorded in the West Bank, with another 10 deaths in the Gaza Strip. She said that no updates were available regarding the situation in occupied East Jerusalem. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3,251 Palestinians residing in the occupied territories died from the COVID-19.

A Palestinian resident of the West Bank receives a vaccination against COVID-19.

A Palestinian resident of the West Bank receives a vaccination against COVID-19. (Photo: OCHA)

Of the total new infections recorded during the previous day, 300 were in the West Bank and 1,318 were in the Gaza Strip. Recoveries in the West Bank numbered 773 and there were 1,000 in the coastal enclave. The health minister reported that 172 coronavirus patients remain in intensive care, while 54 others are on ventilators. Another 532 patients are receiving treatment for COVID-19 at hospitals and COVID dispensaries.

Alkaila pointed out that the recovery rate in Palestine so far stands at 88.7%, while active cases slightly declined to 10.3%. Infections resulting in death account for 1% of total cases until now. The health minister said that more than 159,700 persons residing in the Palestinian territories have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 23,113 of whom have also received the second dose.

According a report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories, March witnessed a 48% increase in active COVID-19 cases: 622 people died during that month compared to 274 deaths in February, bringing to 2,881 the cumulative number of fatalities due to the virus, with 2,270 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 611 in the Gaza Strip. The Case Fatality Rate (CFR), the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases, remains at 1.1% in the Palestinian territories, the same as in Jordan, compared to 0.75% in Israel and 5.9% in Egypt.

The OCHA report indicates that by end the end of March 2021, some 272,440 vaccines had arrived in the Palestinian territories (excluding East Jerusalem), including 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines donated by China, and 70,000 Russian Sputnik V vaccines, 60,000 of which were donated by the United Arab Emirates and designated for Gaza.

Israel is continuing its vaccination program, which is also available to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and ranks first globally for per capita vaccinations with over 50% of the population fully vaccinated. On March 7, the Israeli government began vaccinating over 120,000 non-resident Palestinians who are employed in Israel or in Israeli settlements.

A number of Israeli, Palestinian and international health and human rights organizations, as well as Israeli health officials, have called on the Israeli authorities to ensure that vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.