In Syria, an open-ended nightly curfew took effect Wednesday at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT). State TV showed police patrolling the empty streets of Damascus and other main cities.
The affected areas were in the West Bank: Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Jericho for 14 days following seven reported cases of the coronavirus in the Bethlehem and Beit Jala area.
Built on the grotto where Christians believe Jesus was born, the church joins a list of prominent tourist and holy sites to shutter their doors in the wake of rising fears over the spread of coronavirus.
I had traveled to Iraq to hear more about how this man had survived, a Catholic priest rescued by his Muslim friend. He would tell me that story, too.