The government is set to extend the nationwide lockdown for the holiday of Passover at least until Saturday evening. The new emergency measures meant to combat the spread of coronavirus are set to take effect sometime on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening said the lockdown, which includes a curfew on the eve of the Passover, will last until Friday morning but now it appears the measures will be extended for another day.
The cabinet is set to convene on Tuesday to approve the final draft of the new emergency measures, which include a ban on travel between cities starting Tuesday until Saturday evening.
In addition, traffic within cities could also be further restricted, which would mean Israelis would only be able to shop for food in stores closest to their homes. This is in contrast to the current guidelines that allow the public to stock up on food and medicine in stores and pharmacies, which might not be closest to them.
Also, due to a nationwide curfew set to be in place on the night of Seder, food stores and pharmacies on Wednesday will close some hours earlier than originally planned. The draft apparently states that "from 2pm Wednesday until 7am Thursday, purchase of food will be forbidden even in predominantly Jewish communities."
The current draft also apparently states that all public transportation, excluding cabs, will be suspended on Tuesday and will only be renewed on either Friday or Saturday. The public transport ban apparently also includes international flights.
The draft goes on to say that parts of predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem will be put under tighter restrictions, with residents forbidden from leaving the area entirely.
The Jerusalem neighborhoods in question are: Har Nof, Bayit Vegan, Givat Mordechai, Ramat Shlomo, Sanhedria, Shmuel Hanavi, Beit Yisrael, Mea Shearim, Geula, Bucharim, Zichron Moshe, Ramot, Makor Baruch, Givat Shaul, and Kiryat Moshe.
On Monday night, Netanyahu said that Purim parties were a pivotal point in the spread of the virus and asked that the public adheres to the Passover guidelines: “Every family will have their Seder alone, celebrating only with their nuclear family,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu reported that the Health Ministry does see a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 and that there are “positive signs on the horizons.” He said that the country is “making plans for exit strategies” but that these would only take place after the holiday.