SEEMS LIKE THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND IN ISRAEL: READ MORE TO FIND OUT
Israel is planning a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus. This is after a second-wave surge of new cases, as told by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish high holiday season, Israelis will have to stay within 500 meters of their houses. But traveling to work is allowed.
Schools and shopping malls will be closed. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. The public sector will operate with lesser staff. Non-governmental offices and businesses will not have to close, as long as customers are not accepted.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10. The number is 20 for outdoors.
WHAT DO THE AUTHORITIES SAY?
“I know those measures will exact a heavy price on us all,” Netanyahu said. “This is not the kind of holiday we are used to. And we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”
The Finance Ministry said that the lockdown will cost the economy. It slipped down, an estimated 6.5 billion shekels ($1.88 billion).
Netanyahu has faced increasing criticism over his handling of the pandemic. He said that he instructed his finance minister to come up with a new economic package to assist businesses hurt by the lockdown.
Israel declared an even tighter lockdown in April when the virus arrived. After that, daily cases dropped to low double digits among a population of nine million.
But as the economy was given a loose rope, daily infections jumped, passing 4,000 last week. On Saturday, 2,700 new cases were reported. Over 1100 people have died as of now.
The country’s health system has alerted the population a few days ago. This spurred the government to act, Netanyahu said.
The director-general of the Health Ministry, Hezi Levy, said in an interview earlier on Sunday that dozens of localities were being sucked into the circle of morbidity.
“We have to impose severe restrictions, but they will be able to stem this wave and not bring us to the brink of an abyss,” Levy said.