Israel starts 3rd national lockdown at 5 p.m.

Israel is set to impose its third nationwide lockdown since the start of the pandemic.

The lockdown aimed at tackling the COVID-19 resurgence will begin at 5 p.m. and last for at least two weeks, though health officials have indicated it would likely be extended to a month.

The closure comes as daily coronavirus cases climbed steeply upward, surpassing 3,000 a day, amid fears that a British variant of the disease could be spreading undetected in the country.

Israelis, wearing protective masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shop in the central market of Israel’s coastal city of Netanya on December 27, 2020, ahead of a thrid lockdown. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

The lockdown rules will bar Israelis from entering another person’s home; restrict movement to 1 kilometer from home, with exceptions, such as for vaccinations; shut down commerce, leisure and entertainment (except for essentials); limit public transportation to 50% capacity; and limit workplaces that do not deal with customers face-to-face to 50% capacity.

Fines for those breaking rules stand at NIS 500 ($155).

After the Knesset Education Committee rejected government regulations that would have kept students in grades 5-10 at home for remote learning, all schools are set to remain open throughout the lockdown.