The city of Bethlehem was closed on Friday after the first Palestinian cases of the deadly corona virus were discovered.
The Palestinian government announced a month-long state of emergency late Thursday after the seven cases were identified, while the Israel Defense Ministry said it had imposed immediate measures on Bethlehem, "prohibiting anyone from entering or leaving the city".
It added that the ban had been imposed "in coordination with the Palestinian Authority".
The Church of the Nativity, which was built on the site that Christians believe was the birthplace of Jesus, was closed on Thursday and is one of the places expected to be closed for a month.
All tourist buses to and from Bethlehem were banned until further notice, the Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
An AFP journalist saw around 20 buses stuck at a checkpoint operated by Israeli personnel at the entrance to the Palestinian city, about six miles south of Israel-controlled Jerusalem.
The streets in Bethlehem and Ramallah, where the Palestinian government is based, were almost empty on Friday morning and most shops were closed, AFP journalists said.
Israel controls all of the Jewish State's entry into the West Bank, but the Palestinian government has limited urban autonomy.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh sent a special show late Thursday to announce the 30-day ban. He said the measures are essential to contain the disease.
All but essential travel between Palestinian governorates is now prohibited while all schools and educational institutions are being closed, he said.
Public parks and attractions would be closed while major sporting events, conferences and other large gatherings would be canceled, Shtayyeh added.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the cases were first discovered in a hotel in the Bethlehem area.
– First cases –
The immediate measures came after the first Palestinian cases were confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
All seven infected were quarantined, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Local health director, Imad Shahadeh, told AFP that a group of Greek tourists had visited the hotel in late February and two were later diagnosed with the virus.
Since then, a number of suspected cases have been identified among hotel employees, he said.
Asbed Balian, senior minister of the Armenian Church in the Church of the Nativity, said infected visitors had entered the site.
"People affected by corona have visited the church," he told AFP.
Workers began spraying disinfectants into the church on Thursday evening, an AFP photographer said.
COGAT, the Israeli body responsible for civilian activities in the Palestinian Territories, said it is working "closely with the Palestinian Authority" to curb the spread of the virus.
Israel, which has 16 confirmed cases of the disease to date, has put many European nations through strict measures to contain the virus.
It has also canceled joint military exercises with the United States in Germany.
The Israeli army announced that as of Friday midday, all forces would be prevented from leaving Israel, whether "on personal trips or on duty".
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)