As daily new virus cases approach 2,000 in Israel, the cabinet has approved new restrictions that fall well short of the lockdowns that some health officials are urging.
At 2am this morning, the full cabinet of 34 ministers decided by a majority that from 5pm this evening (Friday) indoor gatherings will be restricted to 10 people and up to 20 outdoors. Beaches will remain open this weekend.
Other restrictions include the closure of health clubs and fitness studios, while restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeaway food and home deliveries.
From next weekend all stores (except supermarkets and pharmacies), beaches and tourist attractions will be closed from Friday evening to Sunday morning but there will be no lockdown and people will be allowed to travel.
There will be no public reception at government offices and all offices will be restricted to 50% of usual capacity.
New restrictions on the education system were not decided upon and left for future discussion.
Over the past 24 hours 1,814 people in Israel have tested positive for coronavirus out of 26,410 tests conducted, the Ministry of Health reports. There have been 46,059 cases of Covid-19 in Israel since the start of the pandemic, of whom 20,370 people have recovered. There have been 384 fatalities including four over the past 24 hours. 202 people are in serious condition including 58 on ventilators.
At the start of cabinet discussions last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if new restrictions were not introduced then there would be 1,600 people on ventilators within three weeks.
Netanyahu added, "We don't have enough epidemiological data identifying infections according to specific places only regions. It is not just us that are finding it difficult to identify exact locations of infections. Even in Australia this is the case and they have gone for full lockdown. Even in Germany where they have an excellent testing system they are considering a general lockdown with just 400 new cases per day.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 17, 2020
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