Israel to Become First Nation to Enter Second Lockdown

Israel to Become First Nation to Enter Second Lockdown

The latest COVID-19 information and statistics for the Middle East and North Africa

Israel is set to become the first country in the world to undergo a second nationwide quarantine, starting on Friday.

At 2 pm local time, mere hours before the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, an estimated 9,246,000 Israelis – the latest population figures released Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics – will be confined to within 500 meters of home for three weeks, and possibly longer.

The national shutdown also encompasses Yom Kippur on September 27 and 28; Sukkot and its intermediate days, from October 2 until October 9; and Simhat Torah, a two-day holiday that wraps up on the evening of October 10.

Daily coronavirus cases in Israel began to increase toward the end of June and beginning of July, spiking over the past couple of weeks, with the Health Ministry announcing a record 6,063 new infections on Wednesday. On Thursday, the total number of cases in Israel reached 172,322, with 1,163 deaths and 125,671 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

To put the latest daily infection numbers into perspective, on May 4, the date that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the easing of many restrictions from the first lockdown, the number of new daily cases was only 38, according to Worldometer, another coronavirus tracker.

The national confinement measures were approved on Wednesday by the government. They also include capping indoor gatherings at 10 people and outdoor social events at 20. The nationwide quarantine will allow restaurants to open only for deliveries, limit the number of passengers allowed on public transportation, and close schools except for special education and programs for youth-at-risk.

There are exceptions, including for essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

According to Israeli media reports, the lockdown will be enforced by 6,000 police officers and 1,000 soldiers.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 17:00 UTC on Thursday.

CountryConfirmed casesDeathsRecoveredActive Cases
Palestinian Territories33,84324423,06010,539
Saudi Arabia328,1444,399307,20716,538
United Arab Emirates82,56840272,11710,049


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