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TEL AVIV—Israel will begin a second nationwide lockdown Friday as its government struggles to contain a fresh coronavirus outbreak that has hammered the economy and divided the country.
The lockdown aims to prevent mass gatherings during the Jewish holidays that begin at sundown Friday and last at least through early October. It will extend through Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot—holidays that typically involve millions of Jewish worshipers attending synagogues and gathering for prayer services. If deemed effective, Israel will later move to localized lockdowns of coronavirus hot spots.
Israel has one of the worst coronavirus rates per capita in the world, and officials warn hospitals risk being overwhelmed ahead of the coming flu season. Over the past 24 hours, Israel has had 2,715 new infections and has 38,008 active cases overall, according to the health ministry. There are 513 patients in serious condition, and 1,108 people have died.
“We want to curb the surge,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the cabinet voted to back the lockdown on Sunday. “We are not going to be able to be together with our extended families and some are going to see damage to their businesses.”
Under the lockdown measures, people must stay within 500 meters (550 …
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