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Israel will impose a three-week blockade across the country

PHOTO PHOTO: People Wear Face Masks While Shopping at a Main Market in Jerusalem, July 16, 2020 REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will enter a three-week blockade across the country, starting Friday, to curb the spread of the coronavirus following a second wave of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

During the lock-up, which comes during the Jewish holiday season, Israelis will have to stay 500 meters from their homes, but can travel to jobs where they will be allowed to work for a limited time.

Schools and shopping malls will be closed, but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. The public sector will work with fewer staff, but NGOs and businesses will not have to close as long as they do not accept customers.

“I know that these measures will lead to a high price for all of us,”

; Netanyahu said in a televised address. “It’s not the kind of vacation we’re used to. And we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families. “

Netanyahu, who is facing growing criticism for tackling the coronavirus crisis, said he had instructed his finance minister to come up with a new economic package to help businesses affected by the blockade.

Report by Ari Rabinovich and Jeffrey Heller, Edited by William McLean

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