Israel will impose a three-week nationwide lockdown starting Friday, due to the dire situation with regard to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address.
Addressing the nation on Sunday, Netanyahu promised that the restrictions would be accompanied by a new economic aid package, which the government is to announce on Thursday.
The anti-coronavirus measures will restrict gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 outdoors. They will also prevent the Israelis for getting more than 500 meters away from their homes.
Schools will be closed, with the public sector facing the same restrictions as during the previous lockdown in spring. Food stores and pharmacies will remain operational, as well as private businesses that don’t have face-to-face customers, and deliveries may still take place.
With lockdown starting on the eve of the Jewish New Year, the PM said, “These are not the holidays we are used to. We certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”
The restrictions may be prolonged beyond three weeks if they do not bring the desired results, Netanyahu said, adding, “These steps are a heavy price for us all.”
Israel has registered around 153,000 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic in December, with almost 2,400 registered in just the past 24 hours. There have been more than 1,100 deaths.
In recent days, local TV channels have sounded the alarm over the country having the highest number of Covid-19 infections per capita in the world. It was currently averaging almost 200 new confirmed cases per million residents every day, journalists said, having analyzed data from Johns Hopkins University in the US.
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