If you want to evaluate how serious the COVID-19 situation is for tourism, you need to look no further than Israel’s response. At a moment when it appears tourism reopenings elsewhere were a really bad idea, Israel will go into a new national lockdown for three weeks, as of Friday, September 18, due to a surge in confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went live on the country’s TV networks on Sunday confirming that daily cases of the virus had surged to 4,000 daily. According to the news, all schools and tourism-related businesses will shut down, and citizens in Israel will face movement restrictions.
This lockdown goes into effect on Friday, from 2 pm, and until October 11. Israeli officials will continually monitor the situation and adjust measures accordingly. The US Embassy made the announcement for US citizens in Isreal, and those planning to travel to the country.
This is the country’s second lockdown. The first restrictive measures were taken back when the coronavirus pandemic first surged back in the Spring. Now, the measure will prevent Jewish people from celebrating their religious festivals, including Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, on 27 September.
Israel has so far seen over 160,368 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,136 deaths. In August 427 people died as a result of the virus, which was a record number. Also, a record was the 45,726 cases in July. As you can see from the chart above from Johns Hopkins, the case resurgence skyrocketed just before the Israelis had planned to reopen the country to larger touristic flows.
The problem in Israel seems to be a combination of partial reopenings and the local impositions being lifted earlier in the summer. According to the latest reports, flights into the country have not been altered by the new lockdown situation.