Israel is set to enter a new three-week long nationwide lockdown in an attempt to curb the coronavirus infection rate. The restrictions come into effect on Jewish new year.
„We tried to apply differential measures and they failed,” Israeli Health Minister said on Tuesday. In the country, at this time, hospital administrators say they aren’t accepting more coronavirus patients. The country has seen infection rates spiral in the past few weeks, topping 4,000 new daily cases in recent days. The new rules will keep Israelis within 500 meters of their homes, except for basic needs like food and medicine or for traveling to permitted jobs. People caught beyond 500 meters from their home without a legitimate reason will receive an automatic NIS 500 ($145) fine and will then be escorted in the direction of their homes. They will also shutter schools, malls and hotels; limit gatherings; and ban in-person dining at restaurants. Restaurants will be allowed to do deliveries. The Israel Police will deploy thousands of officers to hundreds of checkpoints across the country ahead of the Rosh Hashanah festival over the weekend. The second lockdown will cost the economy, which is in recession due to the pandemic, an estimated 6.5bn shekels ($1.88bn), the finance ministry says.
Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch said on Tuesday that if the Israeli populace does not abide by the sweeping lockdown regulations due to come into effect on Friday, infection rates will be so high that there will be dead in the streets, “like in New York and Italy.” The ministry also announced that the death toll from the virus had risen to 1,136. The ministry said 533 patients are in a serious condition. Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who leads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, said the measures would prevent Jewish people from celebrating their religious festivals, including Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, on 27 September. He also resigned.