Photo Credit: IDF / Home Front Command
English gateway on the Home Front Command gateway of the National Emergency Portal dealing with COVID-19

With more than three thousand new cases of the novel coronavirus diagnosed in a 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet finally voted on Thursday to send 30 “red” cities and 11 neighborhoods in Jerusalem into lockdown, beginning this coming Monday.

Further details relating to each specific community are to be released sometime on Sunday, along with the final list of “red” cities.

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The designation of “red” cities comes from the “traffic light” system of categorizing the severity of the level of COVID-19 infection in a community, a system created by Coronavirus Czar Dr. Roni Gamzu. “Red” means the community has an extremely high number of cases of the virus; “orange” means there are many cases in the community and the risk is escalating; “yellow” means there is a moderate number of cases and the number may be growing; “green” means there are some cases but not that many and the virus in the community is under pretty good control.

The Israel Police and Home Front Command will be deployed to manage the “red” cities, where movement of individuals is to be restricted to 500 meters from one’s home, schools are to be closed except for those serving children in special education and preschool grades, most non-essential businesses and retail stores are to close, and entry/exit into and out of the city/community is to be banned, except for essential personnel.

The move is just shy of a national lockdown, which is not to say that possibility hasn’t been discussed, is not still being discussed, nor that it isn’t likely to take place during the upcoming High Holy Day period. It may be, in fact, very likely.

After a record-breaking 3,141 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday, it was, meanwhile, decided to try and stop the spread of the virus with this limited lockdown. Nine people died on Thursday, raising the death toll to 985. There were 417 people listed in serious condition, including 118 patients who require respirator support.

There were at least 1,556 cases diagnosed between midnight Wednesday night, and Thursday evening.

For updates on the changes in the guidelines according to city/community, click here to go to the English gateway on the Home Front Command website.

You can also call the Home Front Command Information Center by dialing “104” within the State of Israel, and get an update on the changes, in any language.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.