Israel Announces 3-Week Nationwide Lockdown After Surge In COVID-19 Cases

Israelis continue protests over Netanyahu alleged corruption, Covid-19 response

The lockdown is set to begin from 1100 GMT on Friday, just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year and the High Holidays, which also include the Day of Atonement and Sukkot. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has chose to put up a lockdown for the second time across the country.

"This is not the holiday time we're used to, we certainly won't be able to celebrate with our extended families".

At the press conference Sunday announcing the lockdown, Netanyahu defended his response, saying Israel's economy had emerged from the first lockdown in a better state than many other developed nations and that while cases were high, the country's coronavirus mortality numbers were lower than other countries with similar outbreaks.

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

On Sunday, Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman of the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party resigned in protest of the lockdown's timing, which he said was an affront to Israel's Jews.


Israel now has one of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the world per capita. Although a sign of strained relations between Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox political partners, Litzman's move was unlikely to have any immediate effect on the stability of the veteran leader's governing coalition.

Israel, which has a population of 9 million, has reported 153,217 coronavirus cases and 1,103 deaths.

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

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man wearing a protective mask and shield against the coronavirus, walks along a street in Jerusalem on September 11, 2020. The government has been accused of mismanagement, failing to properly address both the health and economic crises wrought by the virus and leading the country to its second lockdown.

While Mr Netanyahu was initially praised for his decisive handling of the first wave of infections, he has come under fire from the Israeli public amid a storm of corruption allegations and fury over spiralling infections. Israel stated that if the reinstatement of lockdown measures is successful, the restrictions will eventually only apply to COVID-19 hotspots throughout the country.

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