UPDATED 10:45 AM PT – Friday, September 18, 2020
Israel has returned to a full lockdown as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the country. The lockdown began on Friday and is set to last for three weeks.
Schools, restaurants, hotels, gyms and other businesses have been ordered to close to the public.
The decision to close down coincided with the beginning of the Jewish High Holiday season, when many people usually attend religious services and gather with loved ones.
“I know those measures will exact a heavy price on us all,” stated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “This is not the kind of holiday we are used to, and we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”
Israel has reported more than 1,100 deaths since the start of the pandemic and is currently averaging about 5,000 cases per day.
The prime minister has suggested more restrictions may need to be enforced to stop the spread of the virus in the region.