Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ordered most Israelis to stay in their homes except when buying groceries or medicine, and said the police would enforce the decree.
He said Israel had not yet had a death linked to the coronavirus, but expected to at some point.
“We’re talking about saving very many lives — saving family members, friends, neighbors from death,” Mr. Netanyahu said grimly on national television. “If anyone thinks I’m exaggerating, look at the images coming from Spain, from Italy.”
The order will apply initially for seven days. Essential workers will still be permitted to travel to their jobs.
Mr. Netanyahu said his caretaker government was making a “mighty effort” to address shortages of vital supplies like disinfectants and swabs for test kits, and urged ordinary Israelis to heed government warnings.
“Don’t say, ‘It won’t happen to me, it won’t happen to my family,’ because if you don’t behave correctly, it will happen to you,’” he said.
Reporting and research were contributed by Jonathan Martin, Jill Cowan, Sarah Mervosh, Jenny Gross, Elisabetta Povoledo, Michael Cooper, Katie Rogers, Jenny Gross, Tiffany Hsu, Tara Siegel Bernard, Edward Wong, Raphael Minder, Neil MacFarquhar, Ernesto Londoño, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Karen Zraick, Katie Thomas, Niki Kitsantonis, David E. Sanger, Eric Lipton, Eileen Sullivan, Michael Crowley, Aurelien Breeden,Javier C. Hernández, Alisa Dogramadzieva, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Melissa Eddy, Nick Corasaniti, Lara Jakes, Ana Swanson, Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane, Rick Gladstone, Megan Twohey, Steve Eder, Mariel Padilla, David M. Halbfinger, Isabel Kershner and Marc Stein.