Bethlehem, March 5, 2020
All activities and events in the city of Bethlehem have been canceled and all educational and religious institutions have been temporarily closed for 14 days according to an order from the Palestinian Ministry of Health after a number of suspected cases at a Bethlehem hotel.
In accordance with the order, the Church of the Nativity of Christ, built on the very site where Christ was born, will also be closed. The church remained open as of this morning, reports AFP.
“We respect the authorities’ decision because safety comes first,” a Church official commented. “If not today then (the closure) will be tomorrow.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, it was not announced how long the closure will last.
The Health Ministry earlier reported that a number of suspected cases of the virus had been detected at the Angel Hotel in nearby Beit Jala—the first in the Palestinian territories. A group of Greek tourists visited the hotel last month, with two later discovered to have the virus.
Four suspected cases have also been identified among staff at the Angel Hotel, which will be quarantined.