Israel set for High Holy Day lockdown

As daily Covid-19 cases rise to 4,000, new restrictions are set to come into force within days


Israel is set to enter the new Jewish year with a fresh lockdown after daily coronavirus cases rose to a record 4.038 on Thursday, exceeding 4,000 for a second day.

The cabinet is expected to approve a plan which would  come into effect by Rosh Hashanah, which begins next Friday night.

People will be restricted to 500 metres within their own homes, schools and businesses apart from those providing essential services such as supermarkets and chemists will be closed.

Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people and indoor to 10.

In a second stage, beginning on Succot two weeks later, some restrictions might be lifted but travel between cities will be prohibited.

The situation would be reviewed after the Jewish holidays where individual towns would be assessed under a traffic light system signalling their level of risk.

Earlier this week, night curfews were imposed on 40 towns in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The death toll from the virus in Israel stands at 1,077.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had been told by hospital heads that the number of serious cases was still relatively low but that could change “in an instant”.

The trickiest area for ministers to decide on Sunday will be whether synagogues should  have special dispensation over the High Holy Days and more people allowed to attend than in other settings.

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