Israel's Passover celebrations are due to look very different in Israel this year after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the entire country on lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement, Netanyahu said: "On Wednesday, before the Passover seder, everyone will remain at their home starting at 6:00 pm until the next day at 7:00 am." The strong directive was backed up by some serious words posted to Facebook by defense minister, Naftali Bennett, who said that children making a dash over to their parents’ homes for Seder night “could kill them”.
Netanyahu admitted that the restrictions were "very onerous," but that there was "simply no choice".
"We will strictly enforce the lockdown," he warned. In a bid to drive home his message, the Prime Minister highlighted the high rate of transmission during last month's Purim holiday celebrations. "We saw what happened one month ago with the events of Purim holiday. The virus contagion had spread in broad circles. I say here in the clearest way possible: Passover will not be Purim,” he said.
The government has enforced various other measures, including the restriction of movement to within 100 metres of the home. The only outings permitted are essential trips to the shops for the food and medical supplies.
Israel currently has over 9000 confirmed cases, with 71 deaths.