Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday announced plans for a strict, two-week nationwide lockdown in a bid to slow a raging coronavirus outbreak.
In a video statement, Netanyahu said there would be a “full lockdown” beginning Friday that would run through 10 October. He said the lockdown would continue for at least another two weeks, albeit “hopefully” with some restrictions eased, AP reports.
“The goal is to reduce the rate of infection, and the goal is literally to save many lives in Israel,” he said, without elaborating on the new restrictions.
Netanyahu announced his plan after two days of heated discussions inside his coronavirus Cabinet. The measures still require approval by the full Cabinet, Israeli media reported. Netanyahu and his rivals have been bitterly divided over imposing restrictions on public gatherings, particularly large demonstrations by Netanyahu opponents calling on him to resign.
The looming lockdown amounts to an admission of failure by a prime minister who just a few months ago had boasted about being a world leader in responding to the global pandemic.