RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Israelis and Palestinians have a typical enemy proper now. The coronavirus is spreading by these communities, and leaders on either side have launched tight lockdowns. There are specific issues in regards to the densely populated Gaza Strip. The United Nations has warned that the pandemic may consequence within the collapse of the well being care system there. NPR’s Daniel Estrin is overlaying all this from Jerusalem and joins us now. Good morning, Daniel.
DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Good morning.
MARTIN: Daniel, let’s begin with Gaza. Are you able to simply give us a snapshot of the state of affairs there?
ESTRIN: Nicely, hearken to how a health care provider from the World Well being Group describes it. His identify is Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub.
GERALD ROCKENSCHAUB: There’s shortages in all places in medicines, in electrical energy, in provides. So we are attempting to deal with this, however it’s a really difficult and troublesome atmosphere right here in Gaza.
ESTRIN: And the explanation for that’s that Gaza is a small territory alongside the Mediterranean. It is filled with 2 million Palestinians. It is dominated by an Islamist group. It is blockaded by neighboring nations. And its well being system has simply been utterly overburdened after years of conflict and energy cuts and shortages.
Proper now, there are solely 10 confirmed virus instances in Gaza, and people persons are quarantined, however we do not know if the virus has unfold much more as a result of only a few individuals in Gaza have been examined. And the priority is that if there are extra instances, this virus may rapidly unfold on this very densely populated place and overload the well being system. I imply, simply to provide you a way – about 40% of important medicines have run out, and there are solely about 87 ventilators in Gaza whole for two million individuals.
MARTIN: Wow. So that is the state of affairs in Gaza, which sounds dire already. Let’s take a look at the West Financial institution. What’s occurring there?
ESTRIN: Yeah, there are over 100 instances of Palestinians who’ve caught the virus within the West Financial institution. A number of the first instances got here from Christian pilgrims from overseas who have been visiting Jesus’ birthplace. And Palestinian authorities in a short time imposed lockdowns even sooner than Israel did, a lot stricter lockdowns. It’s totally troublesome to maneuver round within the West Financial institution. Palestinians cannot drive between cities. There are checkpoints that Palestinian safety officers have arrange. And Palestinians are rallying round their management proper now. They like these strict measures.
However the virus is posing a dilemma, which is that many Palestinians work as day laborers in Israel. It is necessary for the Palestinian financial system, however now Palestinian leaders are fearful that these staff are going to catch the virus in Israel, and a few have already got. And so now leaders are calling these staff to come back again residence, and that exodus of Palestinian labor, you recognize, may damage Israel’s financial system, too.
MARTIN: So inform me extra about what is going on on in Israel itself.
ESTRIN: Israel actually is struggling to comprise the virus. There are greater than 4,000 instances right here. No less than 17 individuals have died. The battle is very actual in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. And police have cracked down there and handed out fines and tickets to individuals ignoring social distancing tips, and people communities are going through excessive an infection charges. There are even calls to seal off some ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas.
The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is in self-quarantine. His aide examined constructive for the virus. And so he has not but examined constructive, however he is in self-quarantine. He is introduced even stricter lockdowns than what we have already seen, banning out of doors prayer gatherings.
MARTIN: And in the meantime, there’s this political stalemate in Israel, proper? What impression is that having on the management on this vital second?
ESTRIN: Nicely, Netanyahu, who has struggled to stay in energy for over a 12 months, now you possibly can say he is benefiting from the virus. His corruption trial was delayed, and it seems to be like he’ll be capable of proceed to guide the nation as a result of his foremost political rival goes to be becoming a member of his unity authorities, it seems to be like.
MARTIN: NPR’s Daniel Estrin reporting from Jerusalem. Thanks. We admire it, Daniel.
ESTRIN: Thanks. Transcript offered by NPR, Copyright NPR.