A two-day lockdown came into effect in the Gaza Strip on Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Interior Ministry in the Palestinian territory.
Until Sunday at 7 a.m (0500 GMT), all shops except pharmacies are to be closed and people will be barred from leaving their homes except for health reasons.
Police and security forces were deployed in the streets on Friday in the Hamas-run strip to implement the curfew in all districts, which were separated from each other and divided into blocks to facilitate control.
The ministry said the measures aim to reduce contact and overcrowding in light of the recent high rate of coronavirus cases in the enclave.
General Ali Al-Nadi, the Director of Police Operations and Communications, said that violations of the measures would not be tolerated.
In case of an emergency, citizens could call toll-free numbers at the police or the ministry.
The number of infections has recently spiked in Gaza, where 2 million people live in cramped conditions with poor infrastructure.
The ministry of health reported 617 new cases in the last 24 hours in Gaza, for a total of 17,425 cases.
There have been some 175 fatalities related to the virus.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) has warned the strip’s health system could collapse if the number of cases continues to rise. (dpa/NAN)