Israel clamps down on travel during Passover

Israel clamps down on travel during Passover
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE this week announced tighter restrictions on travel, including a “strictly” enforced lockdown during Passover, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The temporary lockdown is the strictest measure Israel has put in place to battle the pandemic.

“Every family will have the Passover seder on its own. Celebrate only with the immediate family members who are now with you at home,” Netanyahu said in a statement Monday. “Out of a deep responsibility for the public welfare, we in the government will decide, this evening, to impose a general lockdown throughout the country.”

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The lockdown will restrict travel between cities beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday local time and remains into effect until 7 a.m. Friday. Residents in certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be asked to stay within an area “that will be defined for them,” Netanyahu said.

Additionally, the public is being asked to remain in their homes starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, ahead of the start of the first Passover seder, until 7 a.m. Thursday.

“I know that this is very onerous but there is simply no choice. We will strictly enforce the lockdown,” Netanyahu added.

Employees at essential workplaces will be exempt from the curfew to travel to and from work. Supermarkets will remain open until Wednesday at 3 p.m. and then close until Thursday, Haaretz reported.

Public transportation will also be suspended, from Tuesday at 8 p.m. until Sunday at 8 a.m., according to the newspaper.

Measures put in place ahead of the increased Passover restrictions will remain in place after the holiday ends, including the restrictions banning public gatherings and limiting people to leave home only for essential needs.

Israel has had more than 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 60 coronavirus-related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.