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March 19, 2020 4:08 pm
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Israelis Ordered to Stay at Home, as Coronavirus Crisis Worsens

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Health Ministry inspectors speak with a woman in self-quarantine as a precaution against coronavirus spread in Hadera, Israel, March 16, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday tightened a national stay-at-home policy, announcing guidelines aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus would now be enforced by police under emergency orders.

“Under these orders, you, Israel‘s citizens, are required to stay at home. It is no longer a request, it is not a recommendation, it is an obligatory directive that will be enforced by enforcement authorities,” Netanyahu said in a televised address.

The measures stopped short of a total national lockdown: Netanyahu said Israelis would still be allowed to shop for food and medicine, and some workers would be exempted from the restrictions.

Netanyahu had threatened on Wednesday to turn shelter-in-place guidelines into official orders, enabling police to fine or arrest those who ignore them, unless the public stepped up compliance.

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