Israel is going into a second nationwide lockdown over Covid-19
September 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.
A member of the Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David) national emergency medical service performs a swab sample test for COVID-19 coronavirus disease through the window of a vehicle at a drive-through testing station in East Jerusalem on September 6, 2020. - Israel on September 3 announced a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world's highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Israel has approved a second general lockdown as coronavirus cases surge across the country. The lockdown, which is expected to start Friday afternoon, will see the country return to many of the same severe restrictions of the first lockdown back in April.
Jerusalem (CNN)Israel has approved a second general lockdown as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
The lockdown, which is expected to start Friday afternoon, will see the country return to many of the same severe restrictions of the first lockdown back in April.
Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people, while indoor gatherings will be limited to ten.
The second lockdown was announced on Sunday evening.
At a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Netanyahu said the country's coronavirus czar had raised "a red flag regarding the ability of the health system to handle the challenges that are upon us, and [thus] the need to take the necessary steps as a result. "
Netanyahu announced the lockdown after coronavirus cases surged last week, hitting a record of 4,217 new cases in 24 hours on Thursday, the third day in a row with more than 4,000 new cases recorded.
Back in April, Netanyahu boasted that Israel had shown the world how to contain coronavirus and he hoped it would show the world how to restart an economy emerging from lockdown.
Now Israel is possibly the first country in the world to impose a second general lockdown because of a resurgence of infections.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned Sunday, "There is now no escape from a closure.
Even so, the general closure, which was approved by the coronavirus cabinet last week, still sparked a debate within the government, with some ministers opposed to a full lockdown.
Earlier in the day Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who leads one of the ultra-Orthodox parties and served as Health Minister during the first wave of infections, resigned his position in protest over the impending lockdown.
Litzman said he was resigning because the decision to impose a general lockdown over the Jewish high holidays, which start next weekend, had been decided in advance.
Litzman warned that a closure would drastically reduce the number of Jews attending synagogues during the high holidays, "especially tens of thousands of Jews, from different populations, for some of whom this is the only time during the year to attend prayers at synagogue. "
Meanwhile, Netanyahu will try to shift the focus from Israel's failure to contain coronavirus to his recent diplomatic achievements.
Shortly after announcing the lockdown in a press conference Sunday evening, Netanyahu was scheduled to fly to Washington, DC, for a ceremony at the White House marking normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.