As the Coronavirus continues to soar, Israel extended its second countrywide lockdown on Thursday.
The Israeli cabinet voted in the favor of closing down all the non-essential businesses, which included the open-air markets as well. It is also decided that in prayers and political demonstrations, more than 20 people would not be allowed, and participants would not be able to travel more than 0.6 miles from home.
These new measures will be employed from Friday afternoon, as Israel closes down for the weekly Sabbath before Yom Kippur on Sunday and Monday – every year, the country closes down for a day in honor of the solemn holiday.
These restrictions will last for at least two weeks, but under some strict restrictions, synagogues will be allowed to open for Yom Kippur prayers.
These measures and restrictions are subject to assent by Israel’s parliament Knesset – it is assumed that the restrictions of protests and prayers could lead to a backlash as an anti-lockdown demonstration was planned to occur in front of the Knesset, later in the day.
The opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have accused the Israeli government of imposing the lockdown to end the weekly demonstrations that are held against the way the government has handled the crisis. Also, the politically influential ultra-Orthodox community of Israel has opposed the restrictions of public prayer during the ongoing Jewish High Holidays.
Currently, 7000 new Covid-19 cases are being reported in Israel on a daily basis, which has made the outbreak in the country of 9 million people among the worst in the world on a per capita basis. The country was appreciated this spring for swiftly sealing its borders and shutting down most of the businesses. The daily rate of new cases of Israel had dropped significantly in May. Due to this, the government had reopened the economy, but, this led to the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
Many businesses haven’t yet recovered from the first lockdown, and now, it is expected that this second lockdown will take a heavy toll on the country’s economy, despite the restrictions being imposed during the holidays.
The country has reported a total of over 200,000 cases since the Covid-19 pandemic had begun, which included 1,335 deaths. There are currently 50,000 active cases in the country.