Israel imposes a second national lockdown as coronavirus infections soar

Anti-Netanyahu protesters put pressure on Israeli leader | News

Netanyahu announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday said a national lockdown would be reimposed for three weeks after coronavirus cases soared.

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".

"I know these measures will exact a heavy price from all of us", Mr Netanyahu said. "This is what we will do at this meeting".

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. "I did everything so that we could live alongside the coronavirus, with rules here and there", said Yuli Edelstein, Israel's health minister.

Israelis typically hold large family gatherings and pack synagogues during the important fast of Yom Kippur, settings that officials fear could trigger new outbreaks.

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The Three-week lockdown will make Israel the first country to reimpose such stringent restrictions on a national scale. 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.

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

Spain's cumulative incidence, a variable closely watched by epidemiologists, showed almost 240 coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, the highest in Europe.

Israel was initially successful at curbing the spread of the virus.

The country has reported nearly 150,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths, and is also in recession as a result of the pandemic, with unemployment above 20 percent. "And there will also be those affected by the lockdown such as business owners and others".

"We have to impose severe restrictions, but they will be able to stem this wave and not bring us to the brink of an abyss", Levy said.

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