In order to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday, September 13, a three-week lockdown that can be extended if the situation so requires.
Flattening the curve
Israel is the first country to officially put its population on lockdown for a second time. On Sunday, September 13, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a televised speech that in order to flatten the curve the government has decided to introduce a strict three-week general lockdown with the option of an extension. This reinstatement will begin on Friday, September 18 on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and will end on October 9, if not extended by then.
Prayers in small groups
During this time, the Israeli population will not be able to go beyond a 500-meter perimeter around their homes. Schools and shopping centers will be closed, while supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. Only companies that are not open to the public will be allowed to continue their operations. The Hebrew state is one of the countries most affected by the pandemic and the second country after Bahrain to have the highest per capita contamination rate of Covid-19 in the past two weeks. Israel has more than 153,000 cases and 1,103 deaths per 9 million inhabitants. To combat the resurgence of the epidemic, a curfew was imposed over a week ago in about 40 cities, but it was not enough to prevent the spread of the virus.
The lockdown takes place during a period of religious holidays to limit gatherings and prevent further spread of the virus. The restrictions start on the Jewish New Year, continue during the Yom Kippur, which takes place between 27 and 28 September, and end on the last day of Sukkot, October 9. “I am well aware that these measures will have a heavy cost for all of us. This is not a holiday, as usual, we certainly cannot celebrate with our extended families,” said Netanyahu. The prayer meetings are limited to ten people inside and twenty people outside.
Restrictive measures around the world
In other parts of the world, too, restrictions come into effect without going as far as a national lockdown. On Monday a new lockdown was introduced in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, three months after the first restrictions were lifted. In the United Kingdom, gatherings of more than 6 people are now forbidden. In Austria, masks are now compulsory in all stores and public buildings, while they were already compulsory in supermarkets and transport. According to John Hopkins data as of Tuesday 15 September, the pandemic has officially claimed 928,576 lives since its outbreak last December.