Israel to vote on weekend lockdown amid COVID-19 resurgence

Israel’s cabinet is preparing to vote on a nationwide weekend lockdown to curb a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

An urgent meeting of ministers and health officials convened on Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to impose a series of measures including a lockdown during the weekends, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Israeli cabinet is expected to convene later to approve the new measures.

If approved, shopping malls, gyms, and beaches will be closed, while gatherings of more than 10 people will be prohibited during the weekends, from Friday to Sunday morning.

Netanyahu said in a statement that he convened the urgent meeting “following the jump in morbidity to around 1,800 cases and the sharp increase in the doubling of the number of severe cases every seven days”.

He was hopeful that the “interim steps” could “prevent the need for a general lockdown”.

“The cabinet will convene this evening to approve the recommendations that were unanimously approved at the discussion,” Netanyahu added.

Israel is facing a resurgence of a COVID-19 outbreak with a record-high number of daily cases.

On Wednesday, 1,828 new cases were diagnosed, bringing the total number of cases to 44,188.

It was the second-largest daily increase since February and came only two days after a record of 1,962 daily new cases were reported.

Netanyahu’s government is facing growing public anger over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing economic crisis, as many Israelis believe it had not done enough to halt the pandemic and help the soaring number of unemployed people.

In a bid to soothe public protest, Netanyahu announced on Wednesday night a new aid plan that promises to cut a check to every Israeli citizen.

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