Coronavirus: Israel to impose a three-week nationwide lockdown

Ultra orthodox Jewish men stand by a testing station for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jerusalem, April 21, 2020. (Reuters)

Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second- wave surge of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish high-holiday season, Israelis will have to stay within 500 meters of their houses, but can travel to workplaces that will be allowed to operate on a limited basis.

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Schools and shopping malls will be closed but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open.

The public sector will operate with fewer staff, but non-governmental offices and businesses will not have to close, as long as they do not accept customers.

“I know those measures will exact a heavy price on us all,” Netanyahu said in a televised address. “This is not the kind of holiday we are used to. And we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”

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Earlier on Sunday, an ultra-Orthodox minister in Netanyahu’s government resigned over the nationwide lockdown plans.

Yaakov Litzman stood down as housing minister, protesting at measures that he said will prevent Jews from attending synagogues over the upcoming festivals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

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Last Update: Sunday, 13 September 2020 KSA 21:57 - GMT 18:57
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