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Israel Makes Move That Puts a 'Heavy Price on Us All'

Newser — Jenn Gidman

At the end of this week, Israel will head into familiar territory, though it's a landscape the country didn't want to reenter. CNN and the Jerusalem Post report that, starting Friday at 2pm local time, the nation will start its second general lockdown, with rigid restrictions similar to those imposed in April during Israel's first lockdown.

The announcement was made Sunday evening, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier in the day that Israel's chief coronavirus expert had put up a "red flag" on how well the country's health care system could handle the current COVID-19 outbreak, which logged a record 4,217 new cases over a 24-hour period on Thursday.

CNN notes that Israel may be the first country worldwide to reinstate a nationwide lockdown after the original one had been lifted.

Under the renewed restrictions, residents must stay within 1,600 feet or so of their homes, unless they're going to work, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people, per the BBC; indoors, only 10 people at a time can congregate.

Schools and shopping centers will shutter once more, as will entertainment venues and many businesses. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and emergency services will stay open. Netanyahu—who has been criticized for not handling the virus the right way the first time around—says this is a "necessary" step that will "exact a heavy price on us all." Meanwhile, the move has left religious leaders upset that the mandate will come down as the Jewish new year kicks off.

One minister resigned in protest, saying in his resignation letter that "this wrongs and scorns hundreds of thousands of citizens." For now, the lockdown continues through Oct. 9.

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