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Israel stepped up its coronavirus action as it failed to lower the world’s highest infection rate a week after a second national blockade was imposed on Thursday.

The new rules will close most workplaces, shutter markets and further restrict prayers and protests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a press conference that aired late Thursday, “Saving lives is our top priority. We are living in a moment of national crisis,” justifying the decision to tighten regulations.

“The Israeli nation will overcome the epidemic and we will be stronger,” he added without detailing all the steps the government has taken.

This move came as Israel was ready to enter the second week of the three-week lockdown, which included school closures and restrictions on work and leisure last Friday.

Under the new measures approved in the first reading of the parliament on Thursday, only “mandatory” operations are allowed from 2:00 p.m. local time (1100 GMT) on Friday, and the synagogue can only be opened on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. Sunday afternoon.

At other times, only outdoor prayers with a maximum of 20 people are allowed. The same restrictions were applied to the demo.

A decision on whether to shut down Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv will be made late Thursday, the government said.

Netanyahu said earlier, “To save the lives of the citizens of Israel, we need a complete blockade for two weeks now.

“It is also necessary for the economy. Anyone who thinks they can cope with the violent epidemic of increasing deaths and infections without affecting the economy is wrong.”

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Israel has the highest coronavirus infection rate in the world per capita, according to AFP statistics over the past two weeks. More than 200,000 infections have been recorded out of 9 million people.

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