Israel announces closure of shops, restaurants, restricts gathering to 10 people to fight Coronavirus

PM Netanyahu addressed the nation on Saturday night announcing that all non-essential businesses, including restaurants, malls, cafes, entertainment facilities and preschools, will be closing for at least five weeks to contain the coronavirus outbreak, as the number of infected in Israel rises to 193.

Netanyahu stressed that essential services, including supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will remain open and fully stocked.

Gatherings of more than 10 people will not be allowed from Sunday morning.

“We are in a better state than most other countries,” Netanyahu said. “Every day or two, we are making new decisions because the situation is not a static one.”

Netanyahu said he asked the Justice Ministry to approve the use of cyber measures to track people who came in contact with known carriers of the virus, referring to it as “technological means” that Israel has used in the past to combat terror.

He also called on the public to avoid unnecessary travel and recommended that those who can, to work from home.

The guidelines are that people should stay more than two meters away from each other, and exercise strict personal hygiene.

At least 38,560 Israelis are in self-quarantine and anyone entering the country must spend 14 days in isolation. Non-nationals who cannot prove they have somewhere to spend this isolation period are denied entry.

Rabbis are calling on religious Jews to stay away from the Kotel and avoid mass gatherings, including in synagogues.

The Palestinian Authority suspended prayers in mosques and churches in Judea and Samaria and Gaza’s Hamas terror group rulers said all border crossings would be shut for travel.