Senior Likud minister calls for 10-day nationwide lockdown

Israeli economy reopened too fast, claims Minister Yuval Steinitz, calling for 10-day nationwide lockdown to get pandemic under control.

David Rosenberg ,

Lockdown imposed in Ramle
Lockdown imposed in Ramle
Yossi Aloni/Flash90

A senior Likud minister called Monday on the government to impose a new nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Infrastructure and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said in an interview Monday morning with Yediot Aharonot that Israel had reopened its economy too quickly following the first wave of the coronavirus, and now risked serious long-term economic damage due to the ban on air travel to and from Europe.

"Aerial disconnection from the world is financially dangerous," he said. "Sometimes it is better to make it difficult for ourselves for two weeks in order to make it easier for the rest of the year."

Steinitz warned that the “disconnection” from Europe over a period of two to three months could cause serious damage to the Israeli economy.

The minister also said news reports on the number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus had frightened shoppers, leading many to remain at home, further damaging the economy.

"The public sees the number of infected and is afraid to consume, we must reduce the contagion rate to improve the economy."

While the Israeli government has recently imposed local lockdowns on neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Ramle, Lod, Kiryat Malachi, and Beit Shemesh, Steinitz argued that these measures were insufficient to curb the virus’ spread.

Steinitz urged the government to impose another nationwide lockdown, albeit for a shorter period of time than the first lockdown.

Under Steinitz’s proposal, the government would impose a lockdown across the country for 10 days, but would still allow some people to leave their homes to go to work.