oPt

State of Emergency: Palestine’s COVID-19 Response Plan

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1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Government of Palestine (GoP) has quickly and effectively responded to the outbreak of COVID-19, using an internationally and nationally coordinated, data-driven approach to contain the spread of the virus within our borders. The GoP approach is containment and suppression, which is designed to protect our citizens (particularly the most vulnerable) from infection while also mitigating the stress on our already strained health care system.

The GoP immediately declared a State of Emergency when the first cases in the State of Palestine were diagnosed on 5 March 2020 and launched robust national containment measures, supported by an evidence-based communications campaign to encourage our citizens to protect themselves and follow government guidance.

So far, the State of Palestine has one of the lowest rates of virus spread and almost no community transmission, with 84 active cases in the West Bank and the Southern Governorates (Gaza Strip). As the COVID-19 incidence increases around the world, the GoP is continuing efforts to contain the virus to protect our citizens (and those of the larger region) and contribute to the global effort to end the pandemic. On 22 March, the GoP rolled out stricter suppression measures in the West Bank, preventing movement between governorates, closing all non-essential facilities, and asking our citizens in the West Bank to stay at home for 14 days.

However, the State of Palestine faces significant challenges in this effort, including a severely under-equipped health sector and an existing fiscal crisis caused by the Government of Israel (GoI) withholding of revenue. The COVID-19 and the emergency measures that the GoP is taking is and will continue to have a significantly negative impact on our economy, which will lead to (i) shrinking revenues (by at least 40%) that limit the GoP’s ability to maintain existing level of services and (ii) increasing needs for immediate economic support and longer-term economic recovery.

We plan to work jointly with our humanitarian and development partners to respond efficiently and accountably to this crisis. We are further seeking financial and diplomatic support to ensure an effective and sustainable response to COVID-19.

The purpose of this plan is to:

  • Present the GoP’s strategy and actions;

  • Propose an aid coordination approach;

  • Identify the critical support needs, including for: public health response to COVID-19; budget support to maintain government services; and diplomatic engagement with regional partners; and

  • Describe our expectations of the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19 and required economic recovery actions.