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For the first time, a second national lockdown is starting in Israel
Posted on 15/09/2020

SocietyIsrael

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In a news conference on Sunday, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the country would put a second national lockdown in place, after a significant rise in coronavirus cases. Schools, hotels and shopping centres will close, while pharmacies, restaurants and supermarkets will only be allowed deliveries.

An unpopular decision

An unpopular decision
© Kheng Ho Toh / 123RF

The prime minister commented: "Our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and lower morbidity. I know that these steps come at a difficult price for all of us. This is not the holiday we are used to. And we certainly won't be able to celebrate with our extended families."

Although the lockdown is infuriating people because of the upcoming Jewish holidays, it is the safe thing to do according to officials since the holidays could create an even bigger rise in cases.

However, the measure pushed the Housing Minister to resign, claiming: "This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens. Where were you until now? Why have the Jewish holidays become a convenient address for tackling the coronavirus?".

Although Israel handled the situation very well originally and closed its borders very quickly, it had since then reopened schools in May, leading to a surge in cases. According to the team advising the country on national security, the reopening of schools was "a major failure".

Last week Israel got 4,000 new cases in one day, and has had since the beginning of the pandemic 153,000 contaminations and 1,108 deaths.

The second lockdown will start on Friday and should last until 11 October, when measures will then be reviewed depending on the evolution in cases.