After a sudden surge in the Coronavirus cases in Israel recently, the Prime Minister of the country Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday that they will be imposing a nationwide lockdown again to bring it under control.
The lockdown will start on Friday which is the beginning of the Jewish High Holiday season. Schools, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses will be closed once again and the movement of the ordinary people will be restricted.
The PM stated in a national broadcast that their main goal is to stop the disease from spreading any more. He said the new move comes at a difficult price for all and hampers the holiday season.
The earlier lockdown that was imposed in spring was very effective containing the spread of the infection but had a huge negative impact on the country’s economy resulting in a high unemployment rate.
The new lockdown is supposed to stay for at least three weeks after which the situation will be revised and relaxation on social gathering will be granted if the Coronavirus cases decline. There are usually large gatherings during the fast of Yom Kippur, which has the potential to trigger new ultra-Orthodox Jews outbreaks, officials feared.
The restrictions on religious movements during the holidays due to the lockdown caused the ultra-Orthodox Israeli Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman to resign from the government.
With a population of 9 million, the country has had 150,000+ COVID-19 positive cases and over 1,100 deaths. Israel reports more than 4,000 Coronavirus cases on a daily basis.
Though Israel gained praise for its quick response sealing the borders when the outbreak first started, the PM was criticized for opening schools and businesses which led to the sudden surge in cases.
With his corruption allegations, Netanyahu has a lot on his plate right now with the infection rate rising over the summer. His role in the crisis has led thousands of protesters in front of his Jerusalem residence every week.
He has also been criticized for almost giving up on the pressure created by different influential groups like his ultra-Orthodox governing partners, who pressured him to cancel the city-based lockdown plans which favored mostly the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities.
On Sunday’s press conference, Netanyahu explained that Israel was at a better place than other developing nations recovering from the economic decline after the first lockdown and their mortality rate was a lot lower than other countries in a similar situation.
The government of Israel runs by the joint forces of two rival parties who are working together to fight the health as well the economic crisis. The government was lambasted for poor handling of the crisis which resulted in the implementation of the second nationwide lockdown.
Some government ministers hold a section of the public account for the new surge in infection for not following the social distancing guidelines properly and for not wearing masks.