Israel announces three-week national lockdown as COVID cases skyrocket

Israel announces three-week national lockdown as COVID cases skyrocket”

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu said he regretted imposing the draconian new restrictions but that stabilising the infection rate remained a priority.

People will not be allowed more than 500 metres from their homes, with the exception of travelling to workplaces.

"Our goal is to stop the increase, to reduce the contagion", which has crossed the threshold of 4,000 new cases a day, he added. "I know that these steps come at a hard price for all of us. This is not the holiday we are used to".

Officials had feared that large gatherings during the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah could trigger new outbreaks.

The outlet noted that "s$3 everal ultra-Orthodox lawmakers have threatened to pull out of Netanyahu's brittle coalition if the government goes ahead with a lockdown during the holiday season, which begins September 18 and lasts about three weeks".

Netanyahu has also been lambasted for seeming to cave to pressure from various interest groups, including most recently his ultra-Orthodox governing partners, who appeared to have convinced him to relax a pinpointed, city-based lockdown plan that would have mostly affected ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities.

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In his resignation letter, he said: "This wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens".

"Where were you until now?"

The country's first strict lockdown, announced in April, brought the pandemic under control but has caused economic ruin - with unemployment set to spiral to between 10% and 15% by the end of the year, Haaretz reports.

In total, there have been 157,000 coronavirus cases in Israel, of which the majority have recovered, and 1,119 deaths.

Israel earned much praise over its handling of the first coronavirus wave. The Israeli government has been struggling to contain the outbreak, which has had negative effects on the economy and the political climate. Israel stated that if the reinstatement of lockdown measures is successful, the restrictions will eventually only apply to COVID-19 hotspots throughout the country. There are now more than 150,000 confirmed cases and over 1,000 deceased in Israel, which has a population of about 9 million people.

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