Israel’s Security Cabinet approved overnight on Monday a nationwide curfew on the nation’s Jewish communities during the festivities marking the end of Passover, as Israel continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu first announced the curfew during a televised address earlier that day.

The Passover holiday ends on Wednesday night, though the celebrations usually continue for several days.

The measure bars Israelis living in Jewish towns from leaving their communities from between 5 p.m on Tuesday until 5 a.m Thursday. In addition, bakeries and restaurants will remain closed until 2 a.m. on Thursday morning to prevent large gatherings when Passover ends. Supermarkets are allowed to operate starting on Wednesday evening, when food deliveries are also permitted.

Under the lockdown that has been in place for several weeks now, Israelis are allowed to be at most 100 meters (110 yards) from their homes unless they have to buy essential goods or need medical attention. Under the curfew, they cannot go beyond their city or community for any reason.

Senior officials close to Netanyahu told Israel Hayom that the events that traditionally mark the end of Passover could lead to a snowball effect that would result in Israelis disregarding the various restrictions on gatherings that have been in effect for about a month.

If this happens, the chances of coronavirus spreading would increase dramatically, according to officials.

“Israel’s situation is relatively good because the citizens have abided by the rules,” said one official. “It is crucial that these rules are followed, so that the containment of the pandemic continues and our gains are not for nothing.”

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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