Israel to shut down most business activity for 5 weeks to combat coronavirus

Netanyahu set to announce a series of drastic steps meant to fight spread of COVID-19, which include closure of all 'non-essential' workplaces; supermarkets, pharmacies to stay open

Israel is set to essentially shut down business activity in the country for at least five weeks as the government steps up measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak, sources said Saturday.
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  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to announce on Saturday evening a series of drastic steps meant to fight the outbreak of COVID-19, as the number of cases in Israel nears 200.
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    טיב טעם באר שבע
    טיב טעם באר שבע
    Long lines outside supermarkets stockpiling food
    (Photo: Herzl Yosef)
    In a special press conference, was to be held by Netanyahu, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov, it is set to be announced that all places of employment deemed "non-essential" will be closed starting Monday and until after the Passover holiday.
    The National Emergency Authority is in charge of determining the spheres of business which will be considered essential, including hospitals, medical laboratories, health clinics, pharmacies and supermarkets as well as security.
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    בדיקת חום בכניסה ל בית חולים הדסה עין כרם ירושלים
    בדיקת חום בכניסה ל בית חולים הדסה עין כרם ירושלים
    Elderly man at Jerusalem hospital has his temperature measured
    (Photo: EPA)
    In addition, every director general of a government ministry will have to define who among their staff is “essential.” Ynet has also learned that the Finance Ministry is in talks with many large companies in Israel in order to receive an estimate of their “essential” workforce.
    Furthermore, the closure of the education sector, which so far included schools and universities, will be extended to kindergartens, special education and boarding schools.
    Israeli military has also tightened its guidelines for the soldiers, with the army calling on all troops away for the weekend to return on Sunday morning to their bases and be prepared for a month-long stay away from home.
    It still remains unclear whether public transport operations will be halted.
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