Israel Mulls Lockdown as New Infections Spiral
Israel’s so-called Coronavirus Cabinet convened on Thursday to begin mulling the extent of a crackdown aimed at breaking a spiraling surge in infections. On a per capita basis, the number of new cases in Israel places it in the global lead. The death toll, as well as the numbers of patients on ventilators or otherwise in critical condition, are also on the rise. Members of the cabinet are being asked to contemplate a total, country-wide lockdown during the upcoming holiday season, which gets underway on September 18 with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and lasts for three weeks. Under the most extreme scenario, intercity travel would be banned during each holiday in order to avoid large family gatherings, while schools and most places of business would be closed for the entire period. Earlier on Thursday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said a lockdown seemed “inevitable.” Opinion polls indicate that citizens are deeply dissatisfied with the government’s response to the pandemic, saying it all too often allows political considerations to trump what should be purely professional decisions.