Israeli cabinet set to tighten lockdown

Tel Aviv during first lockdown  / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes

As new virus infections rise sharply, a full lockdown will be imposed with schools closing and only essential workplaces remaining open.

Israel's cabinet is currently meeting after the Ministry of Health demanded that the lockdown be tightened due to the fast rising number of new infections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz have reportedly agreed to a full lockdown starting either Friday or Sunday lasting at least 10 days. All schools will close and only essential workplaces will remain open.

People will only be allowed to travel up to 1,000 meters from their homes except for essential purchases and other vital reasons. Grocery stores and supermarkets will close at 7pm.

At the start of the meeting Netanyahu said, "We are first in the world in vaccinations and we must also be first in the world in saving lives. The hospitals have warned that we are entering the most dangerous wave since the start of the pandemic.

Gantz said that an average of 30 people per day are currently dying in Israel from Covid-19 and that this number is rising.

The tightening of the lockdown that was imposed last month comes as the number of new Covid-19 infections continue to rise sharply. Yesterday 8,311 people tested positive for Covid-19, up 50% week-on-week from 5,521 on Monday of last week, the Ministry of Health reports. 111,000 tests were conducted with 7.6% proving positive. 451,044 Israelis have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, 4.85% of the population. There are currently 837 people seriously ill in hospital with Covid-19 and 3,448 people have dies of the virus.

With Israel passing the 1.5 million mark in vaccinations today, 16% of the population, and more than 50% of those aged over 60, the hope is that by early February when these people have had their second jab, the country will be able to open up.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 5, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

Tel Aviv during first lockdown  / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
Tel Aviv during first lockdown / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Globes
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