Amid a stubborn surge in Coronavirus cases in Israel, the country has on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed, with schools and parts of the economy expected to shut down in a bid to bring down infection rates.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a broadcast statement “our goal is to stop the increase (in cases) and lower morbidity,” he added that “I know that these steps come at a difficult price for all of us. This is not the holiday we are used to.”
The lockdown which is set to begin on Friday, just hours before the start of the Jewish High Holiday season, schools, restaurants and hotels will shut down, among other businesses, and Israelis will face restrictions on movement.
Israel which is now seeing more than 4,000 daily cases of the virus will be on lockdown for at least three weeks.
Given its population of 9 million, the country now has one of the world’s worst outbreaks. Israel has had more than 150,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 1,100 deaths.
Netanyahu who was lauded for his decisive response following the spring outbreak is now been criticized for allowing politics and personal matters distract him, including his trial for corruption allegations, as infections rose over the summer.
The prime minister however defended his response to the pandemic at the press conference on Sunday, saying Israel’s economy had emerged from the first lockdown in a better state than many other developed nations and that while cases were high, the country’s Coronavirus mortality numbers were lower than other countries with similar outbreaks.
North Korea Apologizes For ‘Unfortunate’ Killing Of South Korean Official
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apologized for the killing of a South Korean official, an incident which could have been a disaster for any hopes of rekindling talks between the South and the North.
According to a report by Yonhap news agency on Friday Kim reportedly told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the “disgraceful affair” should not have happened.
Earlier on Monday, a South Korean fisheries official disappeared from a fisheries patrol boat when it was about 10km (six miles) south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed line of military control that acts as the de facto maritime boundary between the two Koreas.
On Thursday, South Korea said on Thursday the 47-year-old man had been shot dead by North Korean troops and his body burned.
In a message to Seoul, Kim said he felt “very sorry” for “disappointing” South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
News agency reported that the North said it had conducted its own investigation into the incident and found that soldiers near its western sea border had fired at least 10 shots at the South Korean. The border between the Koreas is tightly policed, and the North is thought to have a “shoot-to-kill” policy in place to prevent coronavirus from entering the country.
However, the North insisted that it had not burned the man’s body but rather the “floating material” that was carrying him.
Also, some experts were skeptical of claims that the man had been trying to defect to a country that has seen more than 30,000 North Koreans fleeing to South Korea in the past two decades, defections from South to North are rare.
Belarus: Mass Protests After Lukashenko Secretly Sworn In
Mass street protests have continued in Belarus’s capital of Minsk, after the unannounced swearing in of president Alexander Lukashenko.
There were reports of beatings and detentions by police, and video footage showed water cannon being used.
Lukashenko was secretly sworn in for a sixth term, with only a few hundred supporters in attendance. Opposition members call the ceremony, quote: “thieves’ meeting”.
The opposition says last month’s poll was rigged in Lukashenko’s favour.
Belarus electoral commission announced Lukashenko won more than 80% of the vote, triggering weeks of mass protests across the country.
Several EU countries and the us say they do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
Two Louisville Police Officers Shot And Injured Amid Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death
Protesters took to the streets of Louisville, Kentucky expressing anger hours after a grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for killing Breonna Taylor.
Authorities confirmed two officers were shot and wounded during the demonstrations over police killings of black people.
Interim Louisville police chief, Robert Schroeder, said a suspect was in custody but did not offer details on whether that person was participating in the demonstrations. He said both officers are expected to recover.
The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend.
The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.
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