Israel Imposes Partial Lockdowns Amid Surge in Coronavirus Cases
The Israeli government on Tuesday evening ordered the partial lockdown of the city of Elad in addition to five neighborhoods in Tiberias, amid a major surge in coronavirus cases. The decision took effect on Wednesday at 8 am local time and will be enforced for one week. Residents of the “restricted zones” will be prevented from leaving save for a few exceptions, including transiting to work and for medical care. Nonresidents will not be permitted into the areas. Israel’s so-called coronavirus cabinet is also considering implementing similar measures in Bat Yam, located just south of Tel Aviv. The move came after health officials last night reported more than 450 new COVID-19 diagnoses in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally in more than two months. The country’s number of new coronavirus infections has skyrocketed over the past two weeks after most restrictions on freedom of movement and business activity were lifted at the beginning of June. A report released earlier this week warned that “if no action is taken and the current growth rate [of diagnoses] does not decrease significantly, then in a month the number of new daily infections will be over 1,000 and the number of dead will reach many hundreds.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made clear his preference not to reimpose sweeping shutdowns and is instead reportedly mulling the reinstatement of a controversial program that allowed Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, to deploy counterterrorism technology that amasses personal information in order to track coronavirus carriers and those coming into contact with them.