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Israel declares complete coronavirus lockdown on eve of Passover

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Israelis will be under a complete lockdown beginning today through at least Friday to stem the spread of the coronavirus during the Passover holiday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the closure on Monday evening in a nationally televised address from his official residence in Jerusalem.

Israelis will not be permitted to leave their houses on Wednesday evening, the night of the first Passover seder, from 6 p.m. until 7 a.m. the following day.

Netanyahu said that Israel may begin to roll back some stay in place restrictions after Passover and the holiday of Mimouna — a less widely observed Jewish holiday which takes place the day after the end of Passover.

“I know this is a big burden, but there is no choice. I ask that you do this in self-discipline for your sake and for your loved ones – for the police and medical teams,” Netanyahu said.

As of Monday evening, Israel had 8,904 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with a death toll of 57.

“On Purim, the virus spread. I’m telling you now clearly, Pesach will be not be Purim. Every family will do Pesach with their immediate family,” Netanyahu added.

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