Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Israel on Thursday — with a mandatory seven-day lockdown that could result in fines if broken — in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The unprecedented and sweeping restrictions, which mandate that Israelis only leave their homes if it’s “absolutely necessary,” come as cases of coronavirus in Isreal spiked to 677 from 433 just a day before, reported Fox News.
In a stunning display of solidarity today, thousands around Israel stood and loudly applauded the healthcare & medical professionals working tirelessly against #COVID19 to save lives.
Wherever you are in the world, take a moment to applaud those keeping you safe and healthy. pic.twitter.com/RRSV88dKvs
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 19, 2020
Netanyahu’s new rules prohibit people from visiting parks, pools, beaches and museums and also mandate that they limit social interactions and work from home where possible.
“Essential” businesses, including supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical facilities will remain open, and workers who have to go to their offices will be allowed to do so.
“There has not been anything like this since the establishment of the state,” Netanyahu said as he announced the measures at a press conference. “There has actually been no such thing like this in the last 100 years.”
“It is not going to be easy; I am asking for your cooperation.”
The Health Ministry and the government said the new restrictions are necessary to control the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise dramatically.
Despite the strict measures, the Health Ministry emphasied that the right to demonstrate will be preserved. See Prime Minister Netanyahu’s full statement below