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Ministers impose, extend virus lockdowns on northern Israeli Arab towns

Locality of Bu’eine Nujeidat and Golan Heights Druze town of Majdal Shams to see closure of almost all businesses as entry and exit from both will be restricted until Thursday

October 30, 2020

Government ministers decided Friday to impose a week-long local lockdown on the northern Arab Israeli locality of Bu’eine Nujeidat and to extend the closure of the Druze town of Majdal Shams due to high coronavirus infection rates in both.

Meeting after the co-called coronavirus committee decided early Friday morning to lift a series of restrictions on various business next week as some students return to school, the ad-hoc Ministerial Committee for Restricted Areas decided to impose severe limitations in the two towns until next Thursday.

Outgoing coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu told ministers Friday that the closure on Majdal Shams should be extended as infection rates there had not dropped sufficiently. He also proposed that a closure be imposed on Bu’eine Nujeidat, which has also seen a sharp rise in cases.

Speaking at the meeting of the coronavirus cabinet, Gamzu said that seven other cities with high infection rates, mostly with majority Arab populations, may need to face similar lockdowns: Taybeh, Kafr Kanna, Manar, Deir al-Asad, Kafr Kassem, Kafr Qara and I’billin.

In addition to a closure of almost all businesses, entry and exit from both Bu’eine Nujeidat and Majdal Shams will be restricted. The nationwide opening of schools for grades 1-4 will be delayed there but kindergartens, which reopened last week, will continue to operate.

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