Israel's coronavirus cabinet imposes two-week lockdown

Lockdown  / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes

As the number of daily new coronavirus cases passes 4,000 for the first time, the full cabinet will be asked to approve a three-stage plan.

Israel's coronavirus cabinet has approved a three-stage plan to halt the spread of Covid-19, which begins with a two-week national lockdown, probably starting next Friday on the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday (Rosh Hashana). The plan needs to be approved by the full cabinet on Sunday, which will also decide exactly when the lockdown will start, and other controversial details such as the limitations on synagogue congregations.

In the first stage of the plan in the national lockdown, movement will be restricted to within 500 meters from a person's home. Stores will close except for food and pharmacy outlets and only people with essential jobs will be allowed to work outside the home. Schools will close as well as all tourism and leisure services, and restaurants will only be allowed to offer home deliveries.

In the second stage, between October 2 -11 (the Sukkot holiday) travel between cities will be banned, schools will remain closed, stores, tourism and leisure services will remain closed, and private sector places of work will be limited to 30-50% of regular capacity.

In the third stage, Israel will return to the current traffic light plan, if the numbers of new infections have fallen significantly. Otherwise a lockdown could continue.

Minister of Interior Arye Deri, who had opposed the traffic light plan, supported the national lockdown. However, Minister of Construction and Housing Yaakov Litzman voted against the plan and launched a personal attack on National Coronavirus Project Coordinator Prof. Ronni Gamzu's handling of matters.

The severe restrictions come as the number of daily new coronavirus cases has passed the 4,000 threshold for the first time, with the number of new daily cases nearly doubling since the start of September. 23 people have died over the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health, bringing the number of fatalities in Israel since the start of the pandemic to 1,077.

There are currently 486 people seriously ill in hospital with Covid-19, up from 474 yesterday, including 144 on ventilators, up from 133 yesterday. The main reason for the lockdown is that hospitals throughout Israel say they are close to capacity and that if the numbers continue to grow then the health system is likely to be overwhelmed.

en.globes.co.il - on September 11, 2020 © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Lockdown  / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes
Lockdown / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes
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