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Coronavirus: Israel’s Health Ministry Urges Full Lockdown as Unemployment Rate Quadruples

03-24-2020
Cleaning workers are sprayed as they exit the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., Thursday, March 12, 2020, at the end of a day spent cleaning inside the facility near Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Cleaning workers are sprayed as they exit the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., Thursday, March 12, 2020, at the end of a day spent cleaning inside the facility near Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

JERUSALEM, Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a seven-hour meeting on Monday with officials from the Health and Finance ministries on Monday to discuss implementing harsher isolation orders.

Israeli media reported Netanyahu would announce on Tuesday these new restrictions, which reportedly includes a full shut down of public transportation, limits on how far civilians can move away from their homes, and the closure of all stores, except grocery stores and pharmacies.

Police will reportedly be called on to enforce these rules.

As of Tuesday morning, 1,656 Israelis have been infected with COVID-19. Of those cases, 31 are serious. The Health Ministry reported that 47 people are in moderate condition and the majority are mild cases.

One person, an elderly Holocaust survivor named Aryeh Even, has died from the disease.

Since the outbreak began, more than 135,000 Israelis have spent time in quarantine. The Health Ministry said that 71,029 are in isolation now.

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The Health Ministry is pushing for a total lockdown of the country but the Finance Ministry warns that Israel’s economy cannot recover from a full shut down.

The economy is already suffering from the Health Ministry’s current guidelines, which orders people not to leave home unless absolutely necessary.

Israel’s unemployment rate has shot up to 18.8% as of Tuesday morning. The unemployment rate before the outbreak was 4%.

The Israeli Employment service said that some 615,834 people have applied for unemployment benefits this month.

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