Israel To Impose A Three-Week Nationwide Lockdown

Israel To Impose A Three-Week Nationwide Lockdown

Israel To Impose A Three-Week Nationwide Lockdown

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 today.

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

Schools and shopping centres 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.

"Our goal is to stop the increase, to reduce the contagion," which has crossed the threshold of 4,000 new cases a day, Mr Netanyahu said.

"I know those measures will exact a heavy price on us all," Mr 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."

Mr Netanyahu, who has faced increasing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus crisis, said he has instructed his finance minister to come up with a new economic package to assist businesses hurt by the lockdown.