(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Israel is to impose a new national lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus – with tough restrictions coming into effect on Jewish new year.
The country’s second lockdown begins on Friday and lasts at least three weeks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the measures would “exact a heavy price on us all”, but the country faced a surge with 4,000 new daily infections.
A minister has resigned to protest against the restrictions that overlap with important Jewish festivals.
Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who leads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party, said the measures would prevent Jewish people from celebrating their religious festivals, including Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, on 27 September.
He also threatened to pull his party out of the governing coalition.
The country has seen 1,108 deaths from Covid-19 and more than 153,000 confirmed infections, according to a global tally kept by US university Johns Hopkins.