The Israeli government’s Coronavirus Cabinet voted Thursday afternoon to impose a total lockdown on 31 towns and cities across Israel in a bid to clamp down on the spread of the coronavirus.
"For an entire month, we had a high – even very high – but stable level of morbidity. In recent days there has been an increase, and a very dramatic increase yesterday," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the lockdown plan was accepted.
"Today, in the Corona Cabinet, we decided to make an immediate effort to block this increase in morbidity. We made a decision to enact lockdowns on the red cities from which infection is spreading both within the cities themselves and to the rest of the population of Israel."
"I request the cooperation of every Israeli citizen in order to block this morbidity. It is important for the health of each and every one of you."
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) voted against the lockdown.
The lockdown is set to begin next Monday, and will last for one week.
During the lockdown, residents will be required to stay within 500 meters of their homes. Public transportation in these areas will be curtailed and most businesses will be required to temporarily close. Schools will be closed, with the exception of special education.
Entry and exit from the areas under lockdown will be limited to essential workers.
Thirty-one towns and cities listed as “red” communities – indicating high coronavirus infection rates – are included in the plan.
In addition, parts of Jerusalem will also be placed under lockdown.
The Old City of Jerusalem will be included in the lockdown, along with a number of predominantly Arab neighborhoods in the capital, such as A-Tur, Shuafat, Wadi el-Joz, and Sheikh Jarrakh.
The thirty-one towns and cities included in the lockdown list include a large number of Israeli Arab communities, along with several cities with large haredi populations, such as Elad, Rekhasim, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, and Beitar Illit.
The list is as follows:
1. Abu Snan
2. Umm al Fahm
8. Bnei Brak
9. Beitar Illit
10. Beit Jan
11. Beit Shemesh
12. Dalilat al-Carmel
19. Kafr Bara
20. Kafr Kana
21. Kafr Qassem
23. Sheikh Danun
24. Maale I’ron
25. Ein Mahil
31. Kfar Aza