What Germany may be dealing with, Israel has just finished: a second lockdown in the fight against Covid-19. As infection numbers had skyrocketed, the Israeli government imposed a second nationwide curfew in mid-September.
From September 18 to October 18, people were allowed to be no more than a thousand meters from their home; closed all shops except supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as places of worship, schools, parks and cafes; and most companies had to send their employees home temporarily.
It is now clear: despite a number of violations, the drastic measures have shown their hoped-for effect. The number of people who tested positive every day has dropped from over 9,000 at the end of September to less than 1,000 recently. “Israel had the highest disease rate in Europe,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week. “We decided on a lockdown and the numbers dropped quickly.”
Whether this required a blanket curfew is controversial, however. Netanyahu had advocated beforehand and so he now has good reason to underline the success of the measure. Many health experts, including Corona State Commissioner Ronni Gamzu, had called for more differentiated measures to protect the already damaged economy.
As expected, it suffered from the second lockdown: the share of unemployed, which previously stabilized at 11 to 12 percent, rose to 19 percent in the second half of September.
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Another collateral damage is social peace: many Israelis suspect they only had to submit to a general lockdown because Netanyahu only imposed curfews on the most affected cities.
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Corona officer Gamzu had suggested this model. But because most of these cities are populated primarily by ultra-Orthodox, Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partners were vehemently against this proposal.
Meanwhile, the faithful are allowed to return to the Western Wall. With mask Photo: REUTERS
The anger of many secular people was compounded by the fact that hundreds of Orthodox believers gathered in synagogues during the lockdown.
However, quite a few people in the majority of society have violated the measures, albeit less drastically. Many illegally visited relatives or sunbathing on the officially closed beach. And although the streets often looked deserted during the first lockdown in spring, this time there was a lot of activity in many places.
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Still, the second lockdown was faster and more effective than the first. The reasons for this have not yet been established, writes Eran Segal, an expert in genetics and artificial intelligence at the Weizmann Institute, who analyzes Israel’s corona statistics on Twitter.
“At least lockdowns work in Israel – second lockdowns work even better,” is his first conclusion. “But Israel decided to lockdown because it had no choice: the (number of) hospital stays pushed the health system to its limits. And that’s a failure. ”