Sunday, October 17

Israel announces third national lockdown to try to curb pandemic


Correspondent in Jerusalem

Updated:

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24 hours after dissolving parliament and announcing a new call for elections, the Israeli authorities decided to apply a new national confinement to try to stop the pandemic. This will be the third national closure in a Jewish state that exceeds 385,000 infected and where 3,150 people have already died from the coronavirus. The new confinement will start on Sunday at five in the afternoon and for an initial period of two weeks in which restrictions such as the prohibition to move away more than a thousand meters from home return. The big news this time around is that the schools will remain open, albeit partially. Another novelty is that all those Israelis and foreigners residing in the country who return to it will have to keep quarantine for ten days in a hotel under the control of the Army.

The authorities have decided to adopt this measure after the increase in cases in recent weeks. The number of infections exceeds 3,000 a day, and the Ministry of Health had been warning for days of the need to adopt shock measures to slow the growth of the curve until it reduced it to less than a thousand. The news comes after the first week of the vaccination campaign, and 70,000 people have already received the Pfizer vaccine. The Jewish state has also bought doses of Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, and was the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the first to be vaccinated before the cameras to convey to the population the importance of taking this step.

On the other side of the wall, however, the Palestinians do not have a vaccination plan. The first Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, made an appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO) and friendly countries to guarantee the shipment of vaccines. Of particular concern is the situation in Gaza, where two million people live under the blockade of Israel and Egypt and have a fragile health system.

Political pulse

In the midst of the political pulse of the last days, in which the government coalition has been blown up, the coordinator of the fight against the pandemic, Professor Nachman Ash, had already advanced that “the third confinement is inevitable”, and warned that Israel “will have 3,000 more dead in the next two months if the Government continues with its policy of” doing nothing. ” Upon hearing the news of the two weeks of confinement approved by the authorities, Ash declared that “it is too short.”

The Israelis are confined again, while the political parties seem more concerned in the upcoming elections on March 23 than in fighting the virus. The new electoral scenario presents a panorama in which, according to the polls, Azul and Blanco, the most voted coalition in April, almost disappeared from the scene, and the electorate punishes its leader, Benny Gantz, who agreed to agree with Netanyahu after promising in the campaign that he would never do so. In its place, the «New Hope» party, of the former Likud minister, breaks in. Gideon Sa’ar.

The polls show Netanyahu again as the big favorite for victory, but the margin will be narrow, and he will need to have the ability to form a coalition in order to stay in office. Corruption cases appear not to take their toll on the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, and the Likud voter remains loyal to their leader.

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