Netanyahu mulls tightening movement thoughout Israel

Earlier rumors said the government would close eight Israeli cities and 15 Jerusalem neighborhoods.

By World Israel News Staff

On Monday, Israel’s health ministry advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to enforce a tighter lockdown throughout the country to fight the spreading coronavirus. Currently, citizens are asked not to go 100 meters beyond their homes and to restrict trips to buying essentials.

The recommendation came instead of one that would have focused on tightening restrictions on eight Israeli cities and 15 Jerusalem neighborhoods in which the incidence of the disease was particularly high.

All the areas that had been under consideration have a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community.

Bnei Brak has been the city that has received the most attention. An overwhelmingly haredi city outside Tel Aviv, it has remained under a complete closure. On Sunday, the IDF streamed forces into the city to provide humanitarian assistance.

A third of those tested for the virus in the city came back positive.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri warned Sunday at the Knesset that the coronavirus infection rate in some haredi Jerusalem neighborhoods is even higher than in Bnei Brak, and the main problem in the haredi communities is that not enough tests have been administered.

The government plans to impose tight control of movement ahead of the first night of Passover, when families traditionally gather to celebrate a festive meal, the Seder. The country’s health officials worry that gatherings of extended families will lead to a spike in infections. They have issued guidelines that only immediate family that lives together should gather for the holiday.

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The Ministry of Health on Monday said that the number of coronavirus patients in Israel is 8,611, up by 500 in the last 24 hours.

Three people died of the virus overnight, bringing the total number of Coronavirus casualties in Israel to 51.

TPS contributed to this report.