All-inclusive 16-day lockdown goes into effect on Friday

The coronavirus cabinet Wednesday night concluded its second day of debate on tough measures for curbing the surge of infection and seriously ill cases. Defense Minister Benny Gantz finally came out in support of PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for a hermetic, all-inclusive lockdown in place of the current partial closure, to go into effect for 16 days from Friday until Oct. 12, so covering Yom Kippur and the Succoth festival. It would entail in addition to the current closures the shutting down or sweeping reduction of prayers in synagogues and protest demonstrations, work only at essential services, cutting out outgoing flights from the international airport, minimal public transport and no social gatherings of any kind.  The PM maintained that the damage would be minimal if the lockdown was imposed now, since economic activity was low-keyed in the festival season. The Finance Minister and Kachol Lavan challenged Netanyahu plan although they agreed that the latest figure of 6,948 new covid cases on the last 24 hours plus 658 people in serious condition were too high to be sustained. After the cabinet session, the ministers approached the various rabbis to request their cooperation for scaling down congregations on Yom Kippur and focusing on outdoor worship.

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