Coronavirus: Jewish New Year Starts with another Lockdown in Israel
Israel is entering a second nationwide lockdown to curb surging coronavirus cases, just as people begin to mark the start of Jewish New Year.
Under the new three-week lockdown, Israelis must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes, with exceptions, and the number of people allowed in synagogues has been greatly reduced.
In the past week, new cases have reached daily highs of more than 5,000, and the country’s leaders have apologised for their failure to contain the pandemic.
Israel has seen 1,169 deaths from Covid-19 and nearly 177,000 confirmed infections, according to a global tally kept by US university Johns Hopkins.
Israel currently has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the world.
However, the new national lockdown is widely unpopular, according to local media, with protests taking place before it came into force.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that, if necessary, he will not hesitate to impose harsher restrictions.
World latest update:
London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor has revealed.
About 100,000 people normally pack the streets around Victoria Embankment for the annual event.
However, Sadiq Khan told LBC that “we simply can’t afford to have numbers of people congregating”.
He said they were instead “working on something people can enjoy in the comfort and safety of their living rooms on TV”.
A nationwide lockdown introduced in March still remains in place, although from late August groups of 10 have been allowed meet outside and some restaurants able to operate. The measures had managed to control the spread of the virus, but on 5 September the country recorded more than 12,000 cases.
There are signs in Latin America that the pandemic’s epicentre is moving to Argentina. The country broke its daily new infection record on Thursday, with almost 13,000 cases recorded – pushing the country’s total to more than 600,000 in total.
Meanwhile the virus appears to be stabilising or slowing down in hard-hit countries Brazil and Mexico. The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show that of the three, Argentina is currently the worst-hit according to its population size. Its 14-day cumulative number of cases was 332 per 100,000 people on Thursday.
A number of European countries are expected to announce new restrictions in response to rising cases.
Several places have announced record increases in daily infections, while others have seen their highest numbers in months.
Spain, France and the Czech Republic have seen some of the most dramatic spikes.
Most cases in Europe are currently being seen in younger people, but there are concerns they could spread the virus to more vulnerable older people.
And while testing capacity has grown since the early spring, the WHO has warned of “alarming rates of transmission across the region”.
You might also be interested in: