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Israel imposes night curfew on 40 places as Covid-19 deaths reach 1,000

But full lockdown plan for some cities dropped after Charedi opposition

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The Israeli government has imposed a night curfew on 40 towns in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus after deaths from the disease in the country passed 1,000 at the weekend. 

But plans for a full lockdown of a smaller number of areas were dropped following concerted opposition from Charedi representatives. 

Under the curfew, non-essential businesses must close from 7 in the evening till 5 in the morning and people will be unable to travel more than 500 metres from their homes. Schools will be shut during the day. 

The curfew will apply to major Arab cities such as Umm-al-Fahm and Charedi centres such as Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit. 

“We must take steps to prevent infections at events and weddings and in schools,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday night. 

One in nine Israelis tested for Covid-19 are now being found to have contracted it. 

The country’s coronavirus czar Ronnie Gamzu had pressed for a lockdown in 10 cities. 

But the plan was denounced in an open letter from four Charedi mayors who accused the government of not listening to their voices. 

They said previous lockdowns imposed on Charedi cities had made little difference. 

“We will stop co-operating with the various authorities on anything connected with the lockdown,” they said. 

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who met Mr Netanyahu yesterday with another strictly Orthodox politician Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, said the Prime Minister had assured him that synagogues would remain open for the High Holy Days. 

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