Shomali noted that the Palestinian Authority has taken preventive measures to counter the infection, “despite the low-income Palestinian economy and the lack of major health facilities and tools.”

She said that “since March 2020, the Palestinian health ministry and government have imposed a shutdown on the Bethlehem area and asked people to self-quarantine after firing a Greek group that was on tour in Bethlehem, who was found to be infected with COVID. -19. “

The declared state of emergency resulted in the closure of many organizations and institutions, and so many employees and workers lost their jobs. The government, Shomali, said “to implement various protective measures” and at the same time “to raise awareness through TV channels and social media”.

Shomali said life in Palestine is “definitely more difficult. I live 10 minutes from my parents and cannot visit them due to the restrictions and because of my fear of infecting them. Additionally, since March , I could not reach my office. The company stopped in the Bethlehem area. We are facing a critical financial situation, as some of us have stopped receiving salaries and others have received it. small percentages. We pay rent, have loans, bills and other charges, in addition to our daily expenses for food and other necessities for my little one. “

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, life in Palestine was “simple”, while “during the COVID-19 epidemic we stayed at home, worked and studied online.”

“Many families struggled to do this due to the lack of laptops or smartphones in the house and poor internet connection. Many lost their jobs and could not afford to pay the bills, rent etc. Our allowance for food and cleaning products increased because we are at home all the time, and it was winter so we needed more food! On top of all that our anxiety increased and we suffered from sleep deprivation, it was difficult to have a new routine during the pandemic. “

Shomali said that “many people could not afford to buy their basic needs, because their activity ceased, they lost their jobs – because Bethlehem is considered a tourist city and its income depends mainly on tourism” .

The coronavirus epidemic has also affected the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. “In addition to combating the effects of decades of military and economic occupation, the pandemic left us with serious negative effects on our income, which many could not afford for tuition, which is a source on which the Latin Patriarchate depends. of Jerusalem for the salaries of its teachers and employees, ”Shomali said.

Shomali also noted that “a big part of our challenge as Palestinians living in a small community is not only the social visits and the risk of becoming infected, but also the disinformation and rumors spreading through the media. social networks that generated panic and mistrust among people, that their attention was diverted from the response and prevention of the epidemic and the excellent work done by health workers, to the transmission of rumors and fake news. “

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