Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a complete lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday to control the country’s Covid-19 outbreak.
However, he offered citizens some hope by saying he expects to lift widespread restrictions after the week-long festival.
Israel has already greatly restricted movement to help slow the outbreak, allowing people to leave their homes to buy food or other essential activities.
In a nationally televised address, Mr Netanyahu said the government was further restricting movement for Passover, which begins Wednesday evening with a festive meal known as the Seder.
“Every family will sit down for Seder night on its own.
“Celebrate only with the immediate family that’s at home with you now,” he said.
Beginning Tuesday afternoon, Israel will ban movement between cities.
From Wednesday evening until Thursday morning, Israelis will not be allowed to leave their homes.
Mr Netanyahu said similar travel restrictions would be in place for the upcoming holidays of Easter and Ramadan later in April.
At the same time, he said “there are positive signs on the horizon” and that preparations were already under way for a possible easing of movement restrictions after Passover.
Israel has reported nearly 9,000 cases of coronavirus and 57 deaths.
For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough.
But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and even lead to death.