13 March 2020
Greetings as we come to the end of the first week of the state of emergency and the lockdown of Bethlehem. We are in a waiting phase at present. The total number of confirmed cases has risen to 34, but one of the good things is that they are all related to the hotel where the Greek woman stayed, which means that authorities have been able to contain the spread.
We are still locked down and the Governor has imposed further restrictions on movement between Beit Sahour, Bethlehem and Beir Jala, three villages that are in reality one large city, but are now separated. I had to go to our other campus at Mar Andrea yesterday, which is only a mile away, but the police stopped me and wanted to know why I was out on the street before letting me through. So while it is restrictive, I am impressed with the way the police and medical people are working together. Whether this means the state of emergency will be lifted or extended is unknown at this stage.
Brother Peter Bray, FSC, EdD
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land