Israel to set new nationwide lockdown as virus instances surge

0
107
Israel to set new nationwide lockdown as virus cases surge

This Tuesday, September 8, 2020, ultra-Orthodox Jews are keeping social distance and wearing face masks next to their houses during a morning prayer as the synagogues are limited to twenty people following government measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. in Bnei Brak, Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has created a nationwide stir for his handling of the coronavirus, but that anger is simmering among the ultra-Orthodox or Haredim who have used their political powers to ward off what they see as discriminatory restrictions. (AP Photo / Oded Balilty, File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that a new nationwide lockdown would be imposed amid a stubborn increase in coronavirus cases. Schools and parts of the economy are expected to be closed to reduce infection rates.

Starting Friday, the start of the Jewish high season, schools, restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels, among other things, will be closed and Israelis will face restrictions on movement and gatherings.

"Our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and the decrease in morbidity," Netanyahu said in a nationwide statement. "I know these steps come at a difficult price for all of us. This is not the vacation we are used to."

The tightening of measures marks the second time Israel has been put into lockdown after a lengthy shutdown in the spring. This lockdown is credited with lowering the much lower infection rates, but it has devastated the country's economy and skyrocketed unemployment.

The block will remain in place for at least three weeks. From then on, officials can relax the measures if the number goes down. Israelis usually hold large family gatherings and pack synagogues during the important Yom Kippur fast later this month. Attitudes officials feared could trigger new outbreaks.

Israel will issue a new nationwide lockdown as virus cases increase
An Israeli protester holds a sign after being chained during a demonstration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem on Saturday, September 12, 2020. Hebrew reads: "Complete closure" (AP Photo / Sebastian Scheiner)

A sticking point in government deliberations on the lockdown was what prayers would look like over the holidays. While the details of the prayer were not recorded in the government decision during the lockdown, believers were to be expected as strict boundaries. This prompted Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who represents ultra-Orthodox Jews, to resign from the government the previous Sunday.

Israel had more than 150,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 1,100 deaths. Given its 9 million population, the country is now having one of the worst outbreaks in the world. There are now more than 4,000 cases of the virus every day.

Israel has been commended for its initial treatment of the coronavirus outbreak. It moved quickly to seal the country's borders and appeared to bring infections under control. Since then, it has been criticized that shops and schools opened too quickly and that the virus was able to spread unhindered.

Israel will issue a new nationwide lockdown as virus cases increase
In this file photo dated July 16, 2020, ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray in split sections that allow a maximum of twenty believers, in accordance with government measures, to stop the spread of the coronavirus at the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can live in pray Jerusalem's old city. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has created a nationwide stir for his handling of the coronavirus, but that anger is simmering among the ultra-Orthodox or Haredim who have used their political powers to ward off what they see as discriminatory restrictions. (AP Photo / Oded Balilty, File)

Much of this criticism has been directed at Netanyahu, who has received public outcry over his management of the crisis and has seen thousands of protesters at his residence in Jerusalem every week. Netanyahu, while lauded for his determined response after the spring outbreak, appeared distracted by political and personal matters, including his corruption allegation trial, as infections increased over the summer.

Netanyahu was also berated for appearing to have given in to pressure from various interest groups, including his ultra-Orthodox government partners, who had apparently convinced him to relax a precise, city-based lockdown plan that would have primarily affected ultra-Orthodox people and Arab communities.

At Sunday's press conference announcing the lockdown, Netanyahu defended his response, saying Israel's economy emerged from the initial lockdown in a better state than many other developed nations, and although cases were high, coronavirus death rates were the Country lower than other countries with similar outbreaks.

Israel will issue a new nationwide lockdown as virus cases increase
On this file photo dated February 23, 2020, Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman comes to a meeting to assess the situation regarding the coronavirus in Tel Aviv, Israel. Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who served as Minister of Health during the virus’s first outbreak, resigned on Sunday, September 13, 2020 in protest of the government’s plan to put a nationwide lockdown this week before the Jewish New Year due to increasing cases of coronaviruses. (Jack Guez / Pool via AP, file)

The country's government, made up of two rival parties that have come together on a stated goal to fight the virus, has also been reprimanded for the new outbreak. The government has been accused of mismanagement for failing to adequately address the health and economic crises caused by the virus and for leading the country to its second lockdown.

Some government ministers have now pointed fingers at a so-called undisciplined public who they have accused of violating restrictions on public gatherings and the wearing of masks.

Follow the latest news on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

© 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Quote::
Israel To Set New Nationwide Lockdown As Virus Cases Rise (2020, Sep 13)
accessed on September 13, 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-israel-nationwide-lockdown-virus-cases.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from fair treatment for the purpose of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here