Israel lockdown officially extended beyond holidays

Lockdown on Tel Aviv seafront  / Photo: Corinna Kern Reuters , Reuters

As nearly 9,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, a new record, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees restrictions being extended for many more months.

Israel's national lockdown has been officially extended beyond the holidays. Last night the cabinet approved regulations by phone, after the new law on the matter was enacted by the Knesset. Under the regulations approved, the lockdown will now extend until October 14, the Wednesday following Simchat Torah.

This morning the Ministry of Health reported that 8,919 people tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, beating last Friday's record daily count of 8,315. There are 810 seriously ill coronavirus patients in hospital including 206 on respirators. There have been 1,571 fatalities, including 599 in September alone. Since the start of the pandemic, 248,133 Israelis have tested positive for the virus, the Ministry of Health reports.

As the numbers mount, few expect the restrictions to end on October 14. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is talking about up to six months of restrictions with the 'coronavirus routine' continuing throughout 2021, even if a vaccine is available. On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance is eager for relaxations for the private sector immediately after the holidays, with up to 50% of staff allowed into private businesses that do not receive the public. Minister of Finance Israel Katz voted against the lockdown being extended to October 14.

In any event the prevailing restrictions at present limit people to within 1,000 meters of their homes, unless on essential business including household purchases in supermarkets and pharmacies. Synagogues will be closed with prayer gatherings of up to 20 allowed outdoors.

Following the new law, political demonstrations are limited to within 1,000 meters of a person's home in groups of up to 20. According to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, the new law is not enough in itself and the regulations must be extended by the cabinet each week for a maximum of three weeks after which further Knesset approval is required.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 1, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Lockdown on Tel Aviv seafront  / Photo: Corinna Kern Reuters , Reuters
Lockdown on Tel Aviv seafront / Photo: Corinna Kern Reuters , Reuters
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