Coronavirus: Israel to impose three-week national lockdown from Sep 18

As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, Israel has a total of 160,368 COVID-19 cases and 1,136 deaths. 

Avatar Written by September 15, 2020 11:03

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Israel is all set to impose a national lockdown for the second time beginning from September 18, in view of the surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

According to The Times of Israel, Israeli ministers on Sunday approved a three-week national lockdown as the country is reporting around 4,000 COVID-19 cases everyday. The new lockdown is set to begin over the upcoming Jewish holidays.

The lockdown is set to take place from 2 pm (local time) on September 18, which would be hours before the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The lockdown, was, however, criticised by many sectors of the workforce and was also slammed by the opposition as well citing it as a “proof of government failure”.

Under the restrictions, Israelis would be restricted from travelling beyond 500 metres from their home except for essential needs, reported The Times of Israel quoting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference.

Schools would remain shut, however, for business and public sector employees, strict limitations are in place, which the Prime Minister did not specify. Supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential businesses would be allowed to remain open and deliveries would be permitted.

Netanyahu noted “the high price” posed by the lockdown measures upon the people but argued that there was no other choice. He said the Israeli economy was doing better than other countries.

“We were among the first to recognise the extent of the danger,” the Israeli Prime Minister said, adding that the number of seriously-ill patients in the country and deaths per million are among the lowest in the world.

Netanyahu stated he was managing the coronavirus outbreak as if he was “playing the accordion”, with the government easing measures if the spike in cases comes down and increase the restrictions in case of a spurt.

“The medical experts told me to close (the accordion) when the health system raises a red flag. They are warning us about the jump in the number of seriously (sick) patients and from the winter,” he said.

The Israeli Prime Minister further said that there “was an outline” to allow prayers during the holidays. Gatherings at indoor spaces would be restricted to 10 whereas in outdoor venues it would be 20.

“I know these steps have a high price for all of us and we cannot celebrate (the holidays) with the whole family,” The Israeli Prime Minister said and added that by adhering to norms of social distancing, “we would beat the virus… I see the vaccine on the way.”

When asked about whether the lockdown imposed was for the government to “buy time” and if the government has failed, he replied, “No, really not. We did not fail.”

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said, “For three months, I tried to avoid a lockdown. I did everything so that we could live alongside the coronavirus, with rules here and there. Under the circumstances that were created, we had no choice.”

Israel had first imposed its lockdown in March which ran until early May.

As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, Israel has a total of 160,368 COVID-19 cases and 1,136 deaths.