Crossing update: Movement of people to and from Gaza at a virtual standstill. Transit of goods continues as usual. Restrictions on goods must be removed to protect Gaza’s economy

Erez Crossing. Photo by Gisha

March 26, 2020. On the backdrop of new cases of COVID-19 discovered in the Strip, exit through Erez Crossing is currently limited to medical patients and their companions, Palestinian residents of the West Bank, and “humanitarian exceptions.” Entrance into Gaza is limited to residents of the Strip, and a small number of foreign nationals with medical qualifications, subject to special coordination. Since March 15, all people entering the Strip have been sent to quarantine facilities.

Entrance to Gaza via Rafah Crossing on its border with Egypt has been limited since March 12 to residents of the Strip. The crossing has been closed to exits from Gaza since March 11, other than a small number of medical patients. People entering the Strip from Egypt are sent to quarantine facilities that were set up near the crossing and in school buildings.

Kerem Shalom Crossing, between Gaza and Israel, is operating as usual for transit of goods in both directions. Last week, Gisha release a new factsheet on Kerem Shalom, including recommendations for steps that must be taken to enable more trade and greater access to goods.

Salah a-Din gate on the Gaza-Egypt border is open three days a week, as usual, only for entrance of goods into Gaza.

This morning, the media reported that seven more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed cases up to nine in total. About 1,400 people are in quarantine facilities, and about 2,000 more are quarantined in the homes. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, there are only about 60 ventilators available in the Strip, and most of them are already being used by patients who do not have COVID-19.

At these challenging times, even more so than ever, Israel is obligated to remove existing restrictions on movement of goods to and from Gaza and to foster conditions to enable humanitarian access and as much economic activity as possible for the protection of residents of the Strip.

     

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