Israel announces night-time curfew as virus cases rise
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Israeli authorities announced on Monday a nationwide night-time curfew starting December 9 aimed at curbing a steep increase in novel coronavirus cases over recent weeks.
The Jewish state's so-called coronavirus cabinet -- a group of ministers headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- decided "a night curfew will be imposed" from Wednesday, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.
However, more shopping centres and markets will be opened with health regulations in place, and museums and cultural centres will be permitted to function at limited capacity.
A health ministry spokesman told AFP the details of the curfew would be hammered out by the government before the measures went into effect.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins Thursday, with the curfew expected to hamper customary nocturnal family gatherings.
Israeli authorities imposed a nationwide lockdown in September -- its second since the start of the pandemic -- when the country had one of the world's highest novel coronavirus infection rates per capita.
Restrictions have since been gradually eased, with the number of infections rising steadily since the beginning of November and crossing the threshold of over a thousand positive tests daily in the last week.
Israel, a country of nine million, has reported more than 346,490 Covid-19 cases, including over 2,900 deaths, since the start of its outbreak