Israel announces partial lockdown amid COVID-19 surge

JERUSALEM (XINHUA) – Israel announced a partial lockdown on dozens of cities and communities to battle a surge in COVID-19 infections yesterday.

The new restrictions, which have been approved by a special ministerial committee, will be imposed on 40 cities and neighbourhoods across Israel, according to a joint statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry.

The seven-day lockdown started yesterday, including a curfew from 7pm to 5am and closure of all schools and kindergartens.

The communities involved are the mostly Arab and ultra-Orthodox ones hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, including nine large neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, the settlements of Beitar Illit and Emanuel, Umm al-Fahm and Nazareth in northern Israel.

The cities involved were announced “red” as part of a government’s “traffic light” policy that has classified areas to red, green and orange according to morbidity level.

A medical worker collects a swab from a man for a COVID-19 test in Israel. PHOTO: XINHUA