COVID-19: Palestinian Ambassador urges community to keep infection rate at zero

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali urged some 6,000 members of the Palestinian community here to continue with its zero-rate COVID-19 infections among the population by adhering to the restrictions imposed under the second stage of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

The envoy said Palestinians here must help support the Malaysian government’s objective to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections in the country.“Alhamdulillah. So far, the conditions and health of the Palestinian community here are well. They have remained at their residences. They are all safe. Which is great, good news.“I have repeatedly requested all the community to follow the rules and regulations and stay in their homes and to obey rules. We have to do our best to help the Malaysian government in maintaining their objectives,” he told Bernama.

The ambassador said the Palestinians in Malaysia include about 2,000 students, over 1,000 refugees, and some businessmen. He noted that there are 28 Palestinians currently stranded in Malaysia following the COVID-19 precautionary measures introduced by many countries including the closure of airspace and borders.

“The group consists of tourists, students and businessmen who want to go back to Palestine. But unfortunately, they have to go back to via Egypt and Jordan borders and these countries had closed their borders to contain COVID-19,” he said.

Those returning to West Bank need to enter through Jordan’s border while using Egypt’s border as the gateway to Gaza. The ambassador said the Embassy had distributed some aid and food packages to those who had contacted the mission. Updating on the situation back home, Walid said more than 7,000 Palestinians had been tested for COVID-19 and those who came back to the country had been put under quarantine in facilities available in both Gaza and West Bank. 

Data from Johns Hopkins University stated that there are 161 COVID-19 cases in Palestine and one death so far. The ambassador said it had received assistance from many countries during this challenging period including from China, several European countries, as well as neighbouring countries like Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. “We have what we need but its not enough,” he said, adding that cities like Bethlehem and Hebron are still closed to contain the spread of COVID-19.