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April 1, 2020 10:54 am

Israeli Police Set to Step Up Enforcement of Coronavirus Restrictions Over Passover

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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 police are set to escalate their administration of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday, which begins next week, the news site Walla reported on Wednesday.

In particular, the police are concentrating on enforcing traffic restrictions by increasing their forces and setting up roadblocks.

“On Seder night we will not allow permissiveness,” a police source said. “There will be increased enforcement and fines will be distributed to those who violate the guidelines.”

He added that those assisting the elderly during the holiday would be allowed to move freely.

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Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was to convene a conference on Wednesday with senior law enforcement officials to assess the current situation in view of the upcoming holiday.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged citizens to respect all current restrictions during the holiday, saying, “This year’s Seder will be remembered as the closure Seder.”

He asked Israelis to hold the Seder “with only the nuclear family that lives with you in your apartment or home. Only those who belong to the small family unit should attend the Seder, while washing hands and keeping their distance from each other.”

“I ask you to avoid family visits on the eve of the holiday,” he added. “The goal is to avoid meeting people who have been elsewhere, because this is how the disease spreads.”

Netanyahu emphasized that these restrictions applied to Israel’s non-Jewish citizens as well, saying, “We welcome you, everyone, for the holidays, but also require you to follow exactly the same guidelines, because they save lives.”

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that further restrictions were put in place on Wednesday, with Netanyahu ordering the Defense Ministry to quarantine all those entering Israel in designated hotels or other facilities.

All the returnees will also have to be screened for the coronavirus, depending on the availability of test kits.

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