09/04/2020, 10.47
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Israel, coronavirus: new lockdown to contain infections

Yesterday 3 thousand new cases were registered in the country, for a total of 123 thousand infected and 976 victims. The government requires the closure of 30 cities and communities. Arabs and Orthodox accused of not respecting the distancing. For critics, internal conflicts within the executive have slowed the response to the crisis. Fr. Faltas: The resumption of the school is an obstacle course. Some institutions already closed for infections.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - An obstacle course, amid long-awaited return to classrooms and sudden closures to the onset of the first cases of contagion in the context of a difficult - and prolonged - coexistence with the virus.

This is how Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, director of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land Christian schools, describes to AsiaNews the beginning of the new school year in Israel, with the first bell ringing on September 1st.

In Palestine the start is scheduled for 7 September, but doubts and uncertainties remain about the modalities. The coronavirus has breached the Gaza enclave and has returned to circulation in Palestine and Israel, so much so that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - at the center of criticism - has imposed a partial lockdown on a national scale.

The head of the health task force Ronni Gamzu stresses that Israel is facing a "key moment" in the fight against Covid-19. In yesterday alone, 3 thousand infections were recorded. The Arab minority and ultra-Orthodox communities, which would not respect the containment measures starting from the obligation of social distancing, have come under scrutiny.

Critics and opponents instead point the finger at the government coalition, whose internal conflicts (primarily between Netanyahu and rival ally Benny Gantz) have resulted in a slow and ineffective response to the pandemic.

"Please - declared Gamzu - no weddings now, no gatherings or mass meetings ... anywhere". There are cities, he concluded, in which "curfews and closures will be imposed from next week", and there will be "economic, social and personal difficulties". The lockdown will affect about thirty cities and communities, in particular inhabited by Arabs and ultra-Orthodox, but the limitations will also affect Jerusalem.

To date, there have been nearly 123,000 cases of infection and 976 confirmed victims.

“The schools had started well - concludes Fr. Ibrahim - then the escalation of infections, with some cases also registered within some institutes, led to new closures. However, the greatest concern is for Gaza” where the health situation is already critical and a spread of the virus could have a devastating impact.

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