Schools, restaurants (excluding delivery), and entertainment venues will all be closed, as well as other businesses, for a three-week opening period. The public sector will operate with a limited workforce, while private sector businesses can operate until non-employees enter the workspace.
People have to live within 500 meters of their house. Emergency services, as well as pharmacies and food stores will remain open. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people, while indoor gatherings will be limited to ten.
Once Israel registers a steep decline in infection rates, sanctions will be relaxed, although no numbers have been added to such a decline.
Netanyahu announced the lockdown following an increase in coronovirus cases last week, recording a record 4,217 new cases in 24 hours on Thursday for the third consecutive day, with more than 4,000 new cases. The number of patients in critical condition has also steadily increased, reaching 513 critical cases and 138 on ventilators by Saturday.
An increasing number appeared to leave Israeli leaders with few options to attempt to control a virus that at one point was completely contained. Back in April, Netanyahu claimed that Israel had shown the world how coronovirus occurs and that he hoped to show the world how to restart the economy emerging from lockdown. Now Israel is the first country in the world to implement a second general lockdown, possibly due to a resurgence of infection.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein warned on Sunday, “Now one has survived the closure. We have brought a resolution.” [for closure]. I will not be really happy when it is approved. It is a very difficult day for the country. But it is a proposal without any other option. ”
Nevertheless, the general shutdown, which was approved by the Coronovirus cabinet last week, still sparked a debate within the government, with some ministers opposing the full lockout.
Earlier in the day, Housing Minister Yakov Litzman, who heads one of the ultra-orthodox parties and served as health minister during the first wave of transition, resigned from his position in protest against the imminent lockdown. Litzman said he was resigning as the Jews decide to implement a general lockout on high holidays, which begin next weekend.
Litzman warned that the number of Jews attending the synagogue during the high holiday would be significantly reduced, “especially tens of thousands of Jews from different populations, some of whom have to attend the synagogue only once during the year . ”
Meanwhile, Netanyahu tried to divert attention from Israel’s failure to include coronoviruses in its recent diplomatic achievements. Soon after announcing the lockdown at a press conference on 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.