Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced the decision in a news conference after infection and death rates soared
Israel has become the first country across the globe to announce that it will put in place a second national lockdown as a result of COVID-19.
Responding to the soaring infection and death rates in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the decision in a late night TV press briefing.
The nation-wide lockdown will be lasting for three weeks and will be coming into effect at 2pm on Friday afternoon, coinciding with Rosh Hashana, a major Jewish holiday.
Mr Netanyahu said:
“I know these steps are a heavy price for us all,”
“These are not the holidays we are used to. We certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”
This comes after the EU has said that it has “serious concerns” about the UK’s move to override key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement deal as Maros Sefcovic, an EU official, was speaking ahead of the emergency talks with Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, on how the changes could potentially affect Northern Ireland.
Responding to critical questions, he defended his leadership through the crisis saying: “If we keep the rules, and I am confident in this, we will defeat the virus. I see the vaccine on the way, and I see the fast testing that is on the way.”
Israel currently has one of the worst COVID-19 infection rates in the world per capita, with 37,482 active cases.
Some 3,167 people tested positive on Sunday, a rise from 2,715 on Saturday. The country hit a record high of 519 patients in serious condition, of which 144 are incubated. At least 1,119 people have died.
Another minister, Yucal Steinitz, said: “It is nice that you are raising the red flag now, when hospitals are getting full, but you had to raise that red flag a month or two ago.”
Tourism minister Asaf Zamir said: “A full closure of the entire country during the holidays is too extreme a step and has economic implications that entire industries will not recover from.”
Reportedly, few people in Israel were wearing face masks and coverings properly and social distancing in the country was almost entirely ignored in a society where religion and culture, as well as politics, presented a perfect storm for the pandemic.
This comes after the British government has admitted that its proposed UK Internal Market Bill could potentially breach international law, with David Cameron, the Former prime minister has “misgivings” about the Boris Johnson’s plan to override the UK’s Brexit withdrawal deal.
The government’s coronavirus commissioner, Ronni Gamzu, who has been calling for the lockdown for several weeks, warned last month: “The state of sickness in Israel is among the worst and most complicated in the world.”
There are 9,845 active cases in the West Bank, which is administered in part under the Palestinian Authority. No coronavirus lockdown decisions have been made in the area yet.
There are currently 1,588 active cases and have been 15 deaths in Gaza, administered by the Palestinian faction Hamas, which represents an exponential rise.