Monday, 14 September 2020 07:18

Israel to Impose Second National Coronavirus Lockdown After Recording More Than 4,000 Cases Daily

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Israel is to enforce a new nationwide lockout-being the world's first country to take such a step to curtail coronavirus transmission.

It will commence on Friday and last three weeks, including a New Year for Jews.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the steps would "exact a hard price on all of us," but with 4,000 new regular infections, the country was facing a surge.

A minister resigned to protest the restrictions interfering with significant Jewish festivals.

Justice Minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, said that the legislation would prohibit Jewish people from celebrating their religious holidays on 27 September, including Yom Kippur, the Jewish calendar's holiest day.

He also threatened to remove his faction from the ruling coalition.

According to a global list compiled by US university Johns Hopkins, the world has seen 1,108 Covid-19 deaths and more than 153,000 confirmed infections.

These are the current constraints?
In recent weeks, Israel, which has a population of around nine million, reported more than 3,000 new cases a day.

The measures he announced will be the most extensive imposed in Israel since the first lockdown, which ran from late March until early May, and include:

No more than 10 people can meet indoors while groups of 20 are allowed outdoors
Schools and shopping centres will close, and Israelis must stay within 500 metres of their homes with the exception of travelling to workplaces
Non-governmental offices and businesses can stay open but must not accept customers
However supermarkets and pharmacies can remain open to the public.

Mr Netanyahu acknowledged the disruption the lockdown would cause to Jewish communities celebrating religious holidays that normally see families come together.

"This is not the kind of holiday we are used to. And we certainly won't be able to celebrate with our extended families," he said.

The restrictions on indoor gatherings will severely impact prayers in synagogues.

The second lockdown will cost the economy, which is in recession due to the pandemic, an estimated 6.5bn shekels ($1.88bn), the finance ministry says.

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