Israel is planning to allow 83,000 Palestinians to return to work on construction sites in the country after 31 May. The move – which would provide a much-needed boost to both the Israeli and Palestinian economies – comes more than two months after tight controls on Palestinians working in Israel were imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Under the measures commuting between the West Bank and Israel was banned and Israeli employers were told they needed to provide Palestinian workers with temporary accommodation. Some 13,000 Palestinians are believed to have remained in Israel, despite a call by the PA for all workers to return to the West Bank. As of Tuesday evening, 16,659 people in Israel had tested positive for the coronavirus and 278 people have died. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 554 people tested positive and two people have died. In the Gaza Strip, 23 people were diagnosed, 16 of whom have recovered. Israel announced this week that restaurants, bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen on 27 May. All customers will be required to have their temperature taken on entry. Social distancing measures must be in place. However, venues with up to 100 patrons will be able to resume at full occupancy, while bigger places will have to restrict attendance to 85 percent. The government also gave the green light for places of worship to reopen today, and authorities at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque say it will open next week.
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