Israel to Go Into Full Lockdown on Pesach

YERUSHALAYIM -
An empty street in Yerushalayim last week. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel will go to a general lockdown for Pesach from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the nation.

Not only will intercity travel be banned, but people will be prohibited from leaving their homes on Wednesday night, Leil Haseder. The Cabinet was expected to vote approval of the measures later on Monday night.

While he said the country was moving in the right direction in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister cautioned that the next few days will determine Israel’s fate, “rise or recede, life or death.”

Netanyahu advised against relaxing social distancing, saying, “Pesach will not be Purim,” referring to the large gatherings on Purim that are believed to have spread the virus in the intervening days. At the time, there was no official restriction in place.

Holding out hope of an easing of restrictions, he said, “There is a realistic chance that if the trends continue, we’ll begin to gradually exit from the lockdown after Pesach. It depends on you.”

The number of coronavirus cases as of Monday night stood at 8,904, the Health Ministry said, up from 8,437 the night before. The death toll has reached 57, as eight more people succumbed to the COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

A total of 140 patients are in serious condition, including 107 on ventilators.