by: Itamar Eichner, Adir Yanko
Monday, 14 September 2020 | Israel’s government on Sunday approved a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
It is the first country to impose a second countrywide lockdown.
Israelis will be restricted to no more than 500 meters [1,640 ft] from their homes, and schools would remain closed for all age groups.
Workplaces in the private sector would be allowed to operate at no more than 50% while public sector offices would be able to provide services in a limited capacity.
Food and medicine stores will be opened while congregations would be limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 outside.
The new measures, which may be extended beyond the initial three weeks, were approved after cases of COVID-19 spiked in recent weeks.
Israel has recorded over 4,000 new cases daily since last week, with over 500 people in serious condition, of which 139 are on ventilators. The death toll [in Israel] from coronavirus has reached 1,108 since the start of the pandemic.
The ministers heard health experts warn about a dangerous increase of seriously ill patients in need of ICU care that could impact the level of medicine provided to COVID and non-COVID patients.
Finance Minister Israel Katz warned a lockdown would cost the economy approximately 20 billion shekels [US $5.8 billion] while Health Minister Yuli Edelstein insisted only a lockdown would yield the necessary reduction in newly confirmed cases.
One point of contention remained the question of synagogues and how they would be allowed to operate during the High Holidays with health officials warning that congregations inside would only increase the number of infections, insisting all crowded events held indoors must be banned.
Posted on September 14, 2020
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