Israel becomes first country in world to impose second national lockdown 

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Sep 14, 2020, 07:41 AM IST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

The tightening of measures marks the second time Israel is being plunged into a lockdown, after a lengthy shutdown in the spring.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a second national coronavirus lockdown in the country during a TV news conference .

The Three-week lockdown will make Israel the first country to reimpose such stringent restrictions on a national scale.

Also read | Fresh protests break out in Israel against Nethanyahu's poor handling of coronavirus

"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," Netanyahu said.

"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," he added.

Israel currently has one of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the world per capita.

Meanwhile, Yaakov Litzman, a minister in Israel government has resigned to protest against the restrictions that overlap with important Jewish festivals.

Despite early successes in stemming the virus spread, protests have broken out as cases have risen against Netanyahu and the government's handling of the pandemic.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied again on Sunday to call for Netanyahu's resignation over his alleged graft offences and failure to manage the Covid-19 crisis.

They blocked roads to Ben Gurion airport, from where Netanyahu was due to fly to the United States to attend the signing of agreements to normalise ties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Israelis angry with the government over the rise in cases have cited the rapid reopening of businesses, with some arguing insufficient financial measures forced people back to work prematurely.

Others have said the reopening of schools and the country's increased testing capacity pushed up the number of positive cases.

Israel, with a population of nine million, has recorded 155,604 Covid-19 cases, including 1,119 deaths.

(With inputs from agencies)