Israel went further into lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus implementing a ban on inter-city travel on Tuesday evening escalating to a curfew called for Passover Eve which will began at 3 p.m. and last until 7 a.m. yesterday. This was to discourage the typical large multi-family gatherings on Passover.
Israelis were banned from venturing out of their homes at all during the time of the curfew and every business in the country will be closed during that time. Other sites said that could walk up to 100 meters from their homes. Police and soldiers were dispersed throughout the country in order to enforce the latest measures.
Supermarkets, food deliveries and other essential services operated until Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. and resumed Thursday morning.
“We’re in a fateful week. A fateful week for the world and for Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Despite “positive signs on the horizon,” Israelis should maintain social distancing measures, Netanyahu said.
“There is a realistic chance that if the trends continue, we’ll begin to gradually exit from the lockdown after Passover and Mimouna (the day after Passover). It depends on you. It depends on the fulfillment of the tough directives… Don’t get complacent.”
Nearly 100 people have died and more than 10,000 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Friday evening. Israel’s swift and drastic measures such as closing its borders and shutting schools early in March may have curbed the spread of the virus, but these measures are also beings blamed for skyrocketing unemployment which now stands at 25 percent — nearly 1 million people who have lost their jobs.
The city of Eilat, the southern Israel resort town on the Red Sea, has been the hardest hit by with 70 percent currently unemployed. Most businesses in Eilat are geared to tourists and have all been essentially shuttered.
Israel is currently under a partial lockdown, in which people are allowed to venture from their homes for essential needs, such as shopping, and some jobs. Otherwise, they are confined to within 100 meters of their homes.
The decision to pursue a general lockdown and curfew came after the government reportedly scrapped a plan to place only certain cities with large outbreaks under quarantine.