Israeli Military to Help Enforce Lockdown
Israeli troops will assist the country’s police force in making sure citizens observe lockdown orders put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, the military said on Friday morning. Starting Sunday, about 500 soldiers will join the police to help “in patrolling, isolating and securing certain areas, blocking routes and additional similar assignments”, the military said in a statement. The soldiers will not be armed and “would be in a support or auxiliary position, supporting the Israeli police,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in a briefing this week. Israel currently reports 3,035 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Ten Israelis have died from the disease. According to the latest regulations, residents may not travel more than 100 meters from their homes except for certain defined purposes, such as to purchase food. Schools and most other public venues are closed and nearly all public events and gatherings have been canceled, causing more than 500,000 layoffs and driving the unemployment rate beyond 20%. The country’s central bank projects that if the partial lockdown eases by the end of April, the economy will contract by 2.5% in 2020.