Palestinians report first coronavirus death in Gaza

Palestinians, wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease, work in a bakery in Gaza City

GAZA (Reuters) - A woman has died in Gaza Strip after contracting coronavirus, the Palestinian enclave's first known fatality from the global pandemic, the health ministry said on Saturday.

Blockaded and short on medical facilities, Gaza, run by the Islamist group Hamas, has reported only 55 coronavirus infection cases among its population of two million. Meanwhile, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule, there have been two deaths and 423 cases.

The Gaza health ministry described the fatality as a 77-year-old woman who had entered via the Egyptian border on May 19 and had been kept in quarantine since. She suffered from a prior chronic illness, the ministry said.

Hamas, which has run Gaza since 2007, has closed crossings with Egypt and Israel except for essential traffic, but unlike in the West Bank it said a full lockdown was not yet needed.


(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by David Evans and Peter Graff)