Israel closes off Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox areas to stem coronavirus spread

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel locked down mainly ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas of Jerusalem on Sunday to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus from the densely populated neighbourhoods where the infection rate is high. The entry and exit restrictions, enforced by police roadblocks, were imposed on the same day that a government order for the wearing of masks in public went into effect throughout the country. Residents of the restricted neighbourhoods in Jerusalem can still shop close to home for essentials but synagogues have been closed to try to stem infections, an edict in force across Israel.

Reuters April 13, 2020 00:11:23 IST
Israel closes off Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox areas to stem coronavirus spread

coronavirus spread" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/04-2020/13/2020-04-12T162813Z_1_LYNXNPEG3B0I1_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS.jpg" alt="Israel closes off Jerusalems ultraOrthodox areas to stem coronavirus spread" width="300" height="225" />

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel locked down mainly ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas of Jerusalem on Sunday to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus from the densely populated neighbourhoods where the infection rate is high.

The entry and exit restrictions, enforced by police roadblocks, were imposed on the same day that a government order for the wearing of masks in public went into effect throughout the country.

Residents of the restricted neighbourhoods in Jerusalem can still shop close to home for essentials but synagogues have been closed to try to stem infections, an edict in force across Israel.

The neighbourhoods are home to large families living in close quarters. Compliance with social-distancing guidelines has been spotty.

Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox town of 200,000 near Tel Aviv, was declared a restricted zone on April 2 and police have limited access to the area.

Israel has reported 10,878 confirmed coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. Palestinian officials listed 268 cases in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, with two fatalities.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said the Palestinian Authority (PA) asked Israel to help it grapple with economic hardship caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Bishara said he requested Israel transfer a minimum of 500 million shekels ($140 million) a month to the PA as part of tax revenues that Israeli authorities collect on behalf of the Palestinians.

In all, Israel usually collects some 700 million shekels ($195 million) a month, in return for a 3% commission, in tax revenues for the PA from imports that arrive via Israeli ports. But the PA expects such revenues to decline by more than 50% due to reduced trade during the coronavirus crisis.

"If Israel agrees to pay us 500 million shekels a month, we can add another 200 million shekels ($56 million) monthly aid from donor countries, in addition to 100 million shekels ($28 million) from local revenues," Bishara told reporters via a video link.

"That would make us 200 million shekels short (of normal figure), a sum we can make up for through taking (bank) loans," he said. "That should keep us going that way for six months."

He said there was no immediate official word from Israel on the request but indications were positive.

(This story corrects name of Palestinian finance minister, paragraph 7.)

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller, Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Giles Elgood)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.