Israel announces third national lockdown

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts his protective face mask after receiving a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel December 19, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

Mutant British coronavirus strain identified in Israel and a rapid surge of coronavirus cases have caused the country to implement its third national lockdown.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the lockdown will start from 5pm on Sunday and will provisionally last for two weeks.

These new restrictions come juts after Israel started its vaccination programme.

According to the statement; “There is an option to extend the lockdown for an additional two weeks, unless the basic reproduction number (for the virus) falls below 1 and the number of new cases per day falls below 1,000.”

For the past week, Israel has regularly been reporting more than 2,000 new cases per day, with 2,535 infections recorded on Wednesday.