Published: Tue, September 15, 2020

Israel imposes a second national lockdown as coronavirus infections soar

Israel imposes a second national lockdown as coronavirus infections soar

Schools, restaurants, malls, and hotels will shut down, among other businesses, and Israelis will face restrictions on movement and on gatherings.

As of Friday, Israel has become the first country to re-instate a nationwide lockdown due to a second wave of COVID-19 infections. In the past day, Israel has experienced 2,715 new infections, adding to its total number of active cases, which now sits at 38,000.

Mr Netanyahu said: "Our goal is to stop the increase [in cases] and lower morbidity". "I know that these steps come at a hard price for all of us".

In remarks to the cabinet as it convened to vote on the lockdown, Netanyahu voiced regret at Litzman's move but added: "We have to move on, to make the decisions necessary for Israel in the coronavirus era, and that is what we will do in this session".

"This is not the holiday time we're used to".

But health officials fear that these settings could trigger new outbreaks of the virus.

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". It has since been criticized for opening businesses and schools too quickly and allowing the virus to spread unchecked.

But the new lockdown has infuriated Jewish Orthodox factions in Mr Netanyahu's coalition government, with the housing minister, Yaakov Litzman, resigning from his post on Sunday.

The country's power-sharing government, made up of two rival parties who joined forces in a stated aim to combat the virus, has also been chided for the new outbreak.

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.

Some government ministers meanwhile have pointed fingers at what they've called an undisciplined public, who they have accused of violating restrictions against public gatherings and mask wearing.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv last night to protest for the 13th week in a row, demanding the Prime Minister's resignation.

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