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Coronavirus: Streets deserted as Israelis mark Yom Kippur during lockdown

Closures also imposed on entry and exit from the occupied Palestinian territories, as during most Israeli holidays
The country of nine million people has logged at least 1,441 deaths from the virus (Reuters)

Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days for Jews, normally brings much of Israel to a standstill, with businesses shut to mark the holiday and roads empty. 

But with lockdowns imposed across the country because of the coronavirus, deserted roads have become the norm as Israel battles with a second wave of Covid-19. 

A man walks through the deserted plaza of Damascus Gate as Israel imposes a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown amid a rise in infections (Reuters)
A man walks through the deserted plaza of Damascus Gate, as Israel imposes a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown (Reuters)

Israel entered its second-wave lockdown on 18 September after a surge of new cases had hospitals worrying about the strain on admissions.

The country of nine million people has logged at least 1,441 deaths from the virus.

The virus meant the first effective shutdown for many synagogues since Israel was founded, with health officials ordering prayers to be held in small socially distanced groups, Reuters reported.

A girl pushes her bicycle along the tracks of the deserted light railway that runs through central Jerusalem
A girl pushes her bicycle along the tracks of the deserted light railway that runs through central Jerusalem (Reuters)

"At this period of atonement and forgiveness, I would like to ask this of all citizens of Israel," the head of the pandemic taskforce, Ronni Gamzu, said in a letter quoted by Israeli media.

"And my apologies to everyone in Israel - security, traditional, religious or ultra-religious - for the holiday period that will be constrained this year."

Closures were also imposed on entry and exit from the occupied Palestinian territories, as during most Israeli holidays