Israel's PM announces second nationwide lockdown

Cheryl Sanders
September 15, 2020

The lockdown will remain in place for at least three weeks, at which point officials may relax measures if numbers are seen declining.

In remarks to the cabinet as it convened to vote on the lockdown, Netanyahu voiced regret at Litzman's move but added: "We have to move on, to make the decisions necessary for Israel in the coronavirus era, and that is what we will do in this session".

Israel's government announced it would impose a 3-week nationwide lockdown.

Israel will enter its second nationwide lockdown this week to quell a recent surge of coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday.

"Our goal is to stop the increase, to reduce the contagion", he said.

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox are also expected to defy the lockdown, gathering for mass holiday prayers in overcrowded conditions, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

Restaurants are set to be closed to on-site dining and movement will be limited to 500 metres (1,650 feet) from one's home.

"This is not the holiday time we're used to, we certainly won't be able to celebrate with our extended families".

"Our goal is to stop the increase and lower morbidity", Netanyahu said in a nationally broadcast statement, adding that he acknowledges that "these steps come at a hard price for all of us".

Israel has seen 1,108 deaths from Covid-19 in total and over 153,000 confirmed infections, according to a global tally kept by United States university John Hopkins.

Israel was initially successful at curbing the spread of the virus.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied again on Sunday to call for Netanyahu's resignation over his alleged graft offences and failure to manage the Covid-19 crisis.

Lauding the peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to be signed on Tuesday, Netanyahu stated that the cooperation with the two Arab countries would be a boon to the economies of all three, each of which had been dealt a blow by the pandemic.

But in an effort to kickstart the economy, schools were invited to reopen in May, which led to a surge in cases.

Israel, with a population of nine million, has recorded 155,604 Covid-19 cases, including 1,119 deaths.

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