(Bloomberg) -- The Palestinian Authority barred tourists, and closed all mosques and churches in Bethlehem for the next two weeks after identifying suspected cases of coronavirus infections in a Bethlehem hotel.

The governing body of Palestinian areas in the West Bank closed schools and training facilities in the Bethlehem area for 14 days after testing 21 employees at the hotel, the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday. Most of the workers turned up negative, though it has sent the suspicious results to Israel for further examination.

Bethlehem is a major tourist destination for the PA economy as it houses historical sites like the Church of Nativity, which many Christians believe to be the birthplace of Jesus. The PA banned also large gatherings such as conferences and sporting events, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fadwa Hodali in Ramallah at fhodali@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Yaacov Benmeleh at ybenmeleh@bloomberg.net, Alisa Odenheimer

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