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UNRWA shuts down health center in village hit by coronavirus outbreak

Jerusalem (QNN) – The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has decided to shut down its health center in the village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem, as a precautionary measure to track confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the village who apparently had visited the center.

UNRWA said in a press release that its health center in Biddu, where a woman in her 60s died yesterday after she tested positive for the virus and 15 infected cases were confirmed, would be closed down as part of the process of tracking confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the town in line with the Palestinian Health Ministry’s instructions.

The UN agency went on to elaborate that after confirming that some of those who visited the center tested positive for the virus, it has instructed its staff to enter self-quarantine until their samples are tested, which would take several days.

It expressed its hopes that the health center would be open as soon as possible after the test results are obtained and the whole building is sprayed with disinfectants. In contrast, all other 14 UNRWA-run health centers in Ramallah and other West Bank districts would continue to operate normally.

Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank Gwyn Lewis said that the UN agency has taken this step as a precautionary measure to protect the patients and staff, and stressed that from the outset of the outbreak of the pandemic, UNRWA staff have taken precautions against contagion, including maintaining social distancing and wearing protective gear.

She urged other patients who recently visited the health center in Biddo to follow the Health Ministry’s recommendations and call the Ministry’s hotline should they have any relevant concerns.

The UNRWA-run health center in Biddo provides primary health care services to over 2,400 patients every month, with the majority of patients coming from Beit Surik and Biddu besides to the cluster of Palestinian villages, east of Ramallah. The center also provides preventive health and treatment services, including laboratory diagnosis, maternal and child health services, physiotherapy and psychological counseling services.

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