Like the rest of the world, Palestine has been hit hard with the coronavirus. The city of Bethlehem in particular has perhaps been impacted the most by the pandemic. At any given time of year the streets of Bethlehem’s Old City are filled with tourists from all over the world, but now shops have been closed and the streets are empty. According to local experts, short-term losses as a result of COVID-19 have reached up to 500 million dollars in Bethlehem alone, and people here are wondering if life will ever return back to normal.

A Palestinian security guard takes the temperature of a visitor outside a mall in Gaza City on September 21, 2020. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)

The Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kalia told the Voice of Palestine radio on Tuesday that Israel “obstructed” the entry of 100,000 COVID-19 testing swabs that were destined for the West Bank. As a result, the Ministry will only have enough swabs to last them for three days, after which time the West Bank would run out.

As part of COVID-19 series in Palestine, Yumna Patel traveled to the Jordan Valley to see what life is like for Palestinians there as they fight two battles: one against the coronavirus, and one against annexation. “In this area, the occupation is even worse for us than the coronavirus pandemic. The occupation has taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to take over more land in the Jordan Valley,” Motaz Bisharat, a Palestinian activist based in the northern Jordan Valley tells Mondoweiss.