The Christmas Divine Liturgy in Bethlehem, which is attended by a large number of people in this West Bank city, will be held this year without the presence of believers due to COVID-19 restrictions, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.
Every year hundreds of Palestinians and foreign pilgrims go the Church of St. Catherine next to the Basilica of the Nativity at midnight, the place where Jesus was born according to Christian tradition.
“Because of the pandemic and for the safety of all, the midnight service will be performed only in the presence of the clergy and will be broadcast by Palestine TV worldwide,” Mahmoud Abbas said during a meeting with church officials in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority earlier this week re-quarantined some governorates in the occupied West Bank and extended the night curfew on weekends throughout the country to combat the COVID-19 resurgence.
On December 5, the Christmas tree of Bethlehem was lit this year without the presence of an audience in the Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health has officially recorded more than 78,000 COVID-19 cases, including nearly 740 deaths of COVID-19 patients in the West Bank.