Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a new national quarantine due to a persistent increase in coronavirus cases, in which schools will close and some economic activities will be suspended in an attempt to lower infection rates. Starting Friday – when the season begins with more Jewish holidays – schools, restaurants, shopping malls and hotels will close their doors, among other businesses, and Israelis will face restrictions on movement and meetings.» Our goal is to slow the increase (in cases) and reduce mortality,» Netanyahu said in a nationwide speech. «I know that these measures come at a price that is difficult for all of us to pay. This is not the holiday season we’re used to.» Tightening constraints represent the second confinement for Israel, after a long closure during the spring. This quarantine is attributed to the country’s much lower rate of contagion, but it wreaked havoc on the economy, causing unemployment to soar. Confinement will be in force for at least three weeks, after which the authorities could reduce the measures if the numbers decrease. Israelis often hold huge family gatherings and crowd synagogues during the Yom Kippur fast — also known as The Day of Atonement — this month, which the authorities fear could trigger further outbreaks. A point of friction in the government’s deliberations around confinement measures is what the prayers will look like during the holiday season. While the government did not specify in its decision what the details of prayer will be during quarantine, parishioners are expected to have to submit to strict limits. Faced with this, Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman, who represents the ultra-Orthodox Jews, decided to resign hours earlier. Israel has recorded more than 150,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 1,100 decesses. Given its population of 9 million people, the country now faces one of the worst outbreaks in the world. It currently registers more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day.