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Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Daniel Case/Creative Commons
Church News

Concern grows for Holy Land as coronavirus leads to lockdown

by Premier Journalist

Cases of coronavirus are continuing to grow in the Holy Land with 31 people testing positive in the Palestinian Territories and 100 patients in Israel according to the Israeli Health Ministry.

Bethlehem, centre of the outbreak and the most affected area, shut down all hotels which form the main source of income, after some hotel workers tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday.

The Palestinian authority was quick to take action and immediately imposed a 30 days lock down on the region.

Bethlehem is almost completely dependent on the tourism sector and if the current situation continues it will no doubt bring some significant damage to the income and daily lives of the residents. 

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem said: "It's a situation which has indeed affected the economy especially in the Palestinian territories, because all borders are closed, no mobility, no movement. For the economic aspect it's very sad.

"We hope and pray that these measures would help contain the spread of the virus," The Patriarch added.

The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem has expanded its preventive measures to reach not only "parishes, churches, monasteries, and any other place designated for worship in the areas of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Jericho", but also in all the Palestinian territories.

On the other hand, the Orthodox Church's instruction considering how the communion should be given, remains unchanged. 

Theophilos III told Premier "the Holy Communion is the foundation of the church, and everyone proceeding for the Holy Communion decide on their own freedom... It's very important and is a way one can prove their strong faith,"

The church of the Holy Sepulchre remains opened in Jerusalem where life is still running normally.

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