Israel Goes On National Lockdown On Eve Of Passover Season

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Israel Goes On National Lockdown On Eve Of Passover Season
Nationwide shelter-at-home measures to begin on Tuesday. The Jewish Passover holiday is to begin at sunset Wednesday and ends April 16.
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Israel is going into lockdown due to the coronavirus, just as it prepares to celebrate one of Judaism's high holy days.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered nationwide shelter-at-home measures to begin on Tuesday. The order comes as the Jewish Passover holiday is to begin at sunset Wednesday and continue until sundown on April 16. 

Netanyahu suggested he may lift some aspects of the order before the celebration is over. But, for now, all non-essential travel is suspended between Israel cities. And the prime minster is telling Israelis to shelter for Wednesday night's Seder dinner and otherwise "celebrate only with the immediate family that's with you now."

According to Johns Hopkins, Israel had 9,000 diagosed coronavirus cases and 60 deaths as of Tuesday. The virus has hit hardest among Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish population. 

The deeply religious community, often distrustful of government and the media, tends to live in densely-packed urban districts. Ultra-Orthodox residents make up 12 percent of Israel's population. Officials at four Tel Aviv area hospitals say they account for 40 to 60 percent of coronavirus patients. 

The pandemic and shelter-at-home orders are also impacting tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel and the occupied West Bank. They are returning home in droves, uncertain for their livelihoods — or what lies ahead.