Israel imposes curfew
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that it would impose curfews in about 40 cities and towns that have been hit hard by the corona virus. However, the country abandoned its proposal for a complete blockade after strong attacks by politically powerful religious politicians.
The curfew will take effect at 7 pm on Monday night. And will last until 5 am. It is not yet known how long they will be kept. People must not risk more than 500 meters (yards) away from home, and unnecessary businesses must be closed.
The announcement was made less than two weeks before the Jewish New Year.
The epidemic has raised concerns that during the upcoming holidays, the country may be forced to declare a nationwide lockdown during extensive travel and large family gatherings in the country.
Under tremendous public pressure, Natanyahu appointed a respected hospital director and former health director Dr. Ronni Gamzu as the national “coronavirus project manager” in July.
Gamzu has been taking full control of the areas where the outbreak is most severe.
These “red” cities have been highly concentrated in the Arab and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in Israel. However, the ultra-orthodox leaders firmly resisted calls for a blockade and threatened to disobey the new orders. The Orthodox Church is the main partner of Netanyahu’s ruling coalition.
Natanyahu expressed a clear compromise, saying that these red areas will have night curfews, schools will be closed, and public gatherings will be restricted, but a total blockade has been avoided.
Israel won praise for its early handling of the virus crisis last spring, acting quickly to close the country’s borders and appear to have contained the epidemic.
But Netanyahu was criticized for reopening the economy in May. Since then, new cases have surged to record levels, the government has been blamed for mismanagement, and the unemployment rate has soared to double digits. Netanyahu’s weekly protests on the corruption trial have expanded to include demonstrations against his handling of the health crisis and the economic pain that it brings.
In total, Israel has recorded nearly 130,000 cases of the virus, and more than 26,000 cases are still active. Recently, it reported about 3,000 new cases every day.
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