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Israel tightens coronavirus lockdown as infections rise

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet decided on Thursday to tighten Israel’s coronavirus lockdown after he voiced alarm that a surge in infections was pushing the nation to “the edge of the abyss”, the YNet news site said.

Israel went back into lockdown, its second during the pandemic, on Sept. 18. But over the past week, the number of new cases has reached nearly 7,000 a day in a population of nine million, severely straining resources at some hospitals.

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.

“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 just a few months ago had boasted about being a world leader in responding to the global pandemic.

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