Due to disappointing rates of coronavirus infection Covid-19 in Israel, local authorities have decided to introduce total quarantine from 14.00 on Friday, September 18, throughout the country. Israel will be the first state in the world, which introduces a second lockdown six months after the first. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it an “advantage” that will stop the second wave of the epidemic before others. Not all experts agree with this position – primarily in Israel, writes today, September 14, the news portal Ynet.
So far, the government has approved only the main directions of quarantine restrictions. Expanded set of rules instructed to develop the Ministry of Health and published in the coming days. But the main restrictions due to the repeated “blocking” are already known.
As Netanyahu reported at the special press-conference, the quarantine will be introduced for three weeks – until October 11. The government reserved the right to prolong the quarantine period in case if the situation requires it. Every week the Cabinet will hold operative meetings on the situation with coronavirus, correcting quarantine actions and conditions.
Schools and kindergartens will cease operations on Friday, September 18. Restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, hotels, private boarding houses, and tourist facilities will also be closed to visitors. Movement is limited in settlements, as well as between cities and towns. Citizens are prohibited to move more than 500 meters away from home. State institutions will stop receiving visitors and will work on a reduced schedule, while private companies will continue to operate in accordance with strict sanitary and epidemiological rules and without receiving visitors will be allowed to meet up to 10 people indoors and up to 20 – in open areas.
Apart from the tourism industry and trade, there will be no restrictions on business activity, as it was during the previous quarantine (March-April). At the same time, there is no specifics about this issue, notes Ynet.
The work of public transport will be limited, but not stopped completely. What kind of restrictions will be set by the Ministries of Health and Transport? Nor is there any clarity regarding the operation of Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. This issue continues to be discussed by representatives of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Transport, and the Israel National Security Council. Initially, it was proposed to close the borders completely, but then the position was softened. It is expected that the decision on this issue will be announced in the evening of September 14.
Netanyahu’s government promised to present in the coming days a program for additional economic stimulus during the lockdown. Details are not yet known. The Ministry of Finance estimated that the repeated quarantine will cost the Israeli economy of 6.5 billion shekels ($ 1.9 billion). However, experts believe this figure is very low, naming the amount from 14 billion ($ 4 billion) to 20 billion ($ 5.8 billion) – depending on the duration of the quarantine.
There are no precise benchmarks for quarantine exit – the same as it was during the first wave lockdown. In this regard, the authorities only note that “the ultimate goal is to reduce the rate of spread of the disease to such a level that it would be possible to move to the program “Svetofor”.