Gov’t greenlights lockdown of 30 Israeli cities amid massive corona spike

The Israeli government approved harsh new restrictions in an effort to thwart a huge surge in the deadly virus.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

On Thursday, Israel’s Knesset okayed lockdown for 30 high-infection cities throughout the country.

Among the expected rules are sealing problematic communities to prevent entry and exit, requiring residents to stay within 500 meters of their homes and public transportation shutdowns.

Schools and non-essential businesses are also expected to be shuttered.

The move arrives as the Middle East confirmed a coronavirus death toll of over 50,000.

Israel, for its part, just recorded a record-high 3,000 new cases in a day prior to the country’s coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu submitting a list of more detailed recommended restrictions where infection rates have been highest.

Israel earned praise for its early handling of the virus crisis and imposing tight movement restrictions. But since reopening the economy in May, new cases have spiked to record levels and the government has been blamed for mismanaging the resurgence.

The United Arab Emirates, with whom Israel recently signed a historic peace deal, embarked on a mass testing campaign, but saw its highest daily confirmed new case count in over three months.

That came as schools have reopened in the country and Dubai has offered itself as a tourist destination.

The 50,000 person Mideast death toll is according to a count by the The Associated Press, based on official numbers offered by health authorities across the region.

Those numbers still may be an under-count, though, as testing in war-torn nations like Libya and Yemen remains extremely limited. The top U.N. official for Libya on Wednesday warned the coronavirus pandemic in the war-ravaged country appears to be “spiraling out of control.” Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who hold parts of the nation and are backed by Iran, have refused to release virus statistics.

The hardest-hit nation remains Iran, which saw the region’s first major outbreak. Over 21,900 people have died there from the virus, with over 380,000 confirmed cases and 328,000 recoveries.