Israel makes way for tight COVID lockdown
JERUSALEM (ISRAEL) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet decided on Thursday to tighten Israel’s coronavirus lockdown following a surge in infections.
Israel went back into second lockdown on September 18. The past week saw the number of daily new cases touching nearly 7,000 among a population of 9 million.
“If we don’t take immediate and difficult steps, we will reach the edge of the abyss,” Netanyahu said in public remarks to the cabinet.
The new restrictions will involve the shutting down of all businesses and workplaces, except for those designated essential, for at least two weeks starting on Friday.
Schools will remain closed, but synagogues will remain open on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, next week, with limited number of worshippers.
According to the survey published by the non-partisan Israel Democracy Institute on Wednesday, only 27% of Israelis trust Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Protesters have taken to streets outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence asking for his resignation over alleged corruption, which he refutes.
The current 1-kilometre (0.6-mile)- limit on travel from home only for activities such as grocery and medicine shopping and commuting to work, will now be applicable to being part of street protests.
The current second wave of infections followed an easing in May of a lockdown imposed in March.