In a sudden move, Israel drastically intensified its regulations limiting movement on Tuesday, essentially confining Israelis to their homes.
The new directives issued by the Health Ministry prohibit Israelis from leaving their homes unless it is in order to obtain “vital needs and services” – purchasing food, home supplies and medication they are not able to have delivered, or seek urgent medical attention.
The elderly and people with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems were urged not to leave their homes for any reason whatsoever, and were told to rely on delivery services, friends and family members to bring them what they need.
All leisure activity outside the home, with very few exceptions, was strictly forbidden. The directives specifically cited public parks, beaches and shopping malls as being off-limits.
Starting Thursday, the police announced, they will begin to enforce the restrictions, imposing fines on those who violate regulations they say have proven effective in other parts of the world. A police statement said that fines for violating the regulations will be steep, but the policy “will save lives.”
All stores except for grocery stores and pharmacies were ordered closed.