Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday the government would impose a three-week nationwide lockdown in a bid to quell soaring novel coronavirus cases.
“Today in the government meeting we reached a decision on a strict (lockdown) plan for three weeks, with an option that it will be extended,” he said in a televised statement.
The lockdown was set to begin at 1100 GMT on Friday, just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year and the High Holidays.
“Our goal is to stop the increase, to reduce the contagion,” which has crossed the threshold of 4,000 new cases a day, Netanyahu said.
Under the lockdown guidelines to be finalised in the coming days, indoor gatherings would be limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 20, meaning prayers at synagogues would be severely impacted.
Restaurants are set to be closed to on-site dining and movement will be limited to 500 metres (1,650 feet) from one’s home.
“I know these measures will exact a heavy price from all of us,” Netanyahu said.
“This is not the holiday time we’re used to, we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”
© Agence France-Presse