Shomali noted that Palestinian authority has taken preventive measures to counter the infection, "despite the Palestinian low-income economics, and the lack of major health facilities and tools."
She said that "since March 2020, the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the government imposed a closure on the Bethlehem area and asked people to go under lockdown after returning a Greek group who was on tour in Bethlehem, that was found to be infected with COVID-19."
The proclaimed state of emergency measures resulted in the closure of many organizations and institutions, and so many employees and workers lost their jobs. The government, Shomali, said, "implemented various protective measures" and at the same time "raised awareness through TV channels and social media."
Shomali said that life in Palestine is "definitely harder. I live 10 minutes away from my parents, and I can't visit them because of the restrictions and because of my fear of infecting them. Also, since March, I couldn't reach my office. The business stopped in the Bethlehem area. We are facing a critical financial situation, as some of us stopped receiving salaries, and others received small percentages of it. We pay rent, have loans, bills, and other fees, besides our daily expenses of food, and other necessary needs for my toddler."
Before the COVID pandemic, life in Palestine was "simple," while "during the outbreak of COVID-19, we stuck at home, we worked and studied online."
"Many families had a hard time doing so due to the lack of laptops or smartphones in the house and poor internet connection. Many lost their jobs and couldn't afford to pay the bills, rent, and so. Our allowance for food and cleaning products increased, as we are home all the time, and it was during winter, so we needed more food! Besides all that, our anxiety increased, and we suffered sleep deprivation, it was hard to get a new routine during the pandemic."
Shomali said that "many people couldn't afford to buy their basic needs, as their business stopped, they lost their jobs - as Bethlehem is considered to be a tourist town and its income mainly depends on tourism."
The coronavirus outbreak also affected the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. "As well as struggling with the effects of decades of military and economic occupation, the pandemic left us with severe adverse impacts on our income, that many couldn't pay school fees, which is one source the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem depends on for the salaries of its teachers and employees," Shomali said.
Shomali also noted that "a big part of our challenge as Palestinians living in a small community is not only the social visiting and the risk of infecting each other but also misinformation and rumors spreading on social media which have generated panic and mistrust among people, who their attention was diverted from the outbreak response and prevention and the great work done by the health-care workers, to passing down rumors and false information."