Israel's lockdown extended to Sunday

Lockdown  / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes
Lockdown / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes

After Sunday, restrictions will be partially lifted, in accordance with proposals by the Ministry of Health.

In the early hours of this morning, after an acrimonious discussion and voluble exchanges between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, the government decided to extend the full lockdown in Israel to Sunday morning. It was also agreed that the lifting of restrictions will be in accordance with the proposal of the Ministry of Health.

The restrictions that will be lifted will be on hairdressers, cosmeticians, lawyers and accountants and other person-to-person transactions. Workplaces that do not receive the public will also be allowed to open. Restrictions on movement will be removed, as will the ban on being in other people's homes. Parks, nature reserves and beaches will be opened. Takeaway meals from restaurants will be allowed, and there will be a controlled reopening of kindergartens - the latter relaxation will not come into effect on Sunday, but after consultation with the Ministry of Education. Vacation rentals to individual families will also be permitted.

The restriction on retail stores in general, other than groceries and supermarkets, will remain in place.

The decision comes after Israel's death toll from Covid-19 passed 5,000, and amid a slowdown in the country's vaccination program that had been the fastest in the world. To Netanyahu's fury, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit declared an initial majority vote in favor of a proposal by Minister of Health Yuli Edelstein to extend the lockdown void because the amendment to The Basic Law: The Government that facilitated the current coalition stipulates that cabinet votes must be unanimous between the coalition parties. Netanyahu accused Gantz of wanting as much spread of the coronavirus as possible out of electoral considerations. Gantz had argued that the general lockdown was no longer effective, and that extending it would do more harm than good. He spoke in favor of differential restrictions on areas with high rates of infection.

Earlier in yesterday evening's session, the government approved regulations imposing higher fines for breaches of lockdown restrictions, after the measure was approved in principle by the Knesset. 

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on February 5, 2021

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

Lockdown  / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes
Lockdown / Photo: Cadya Levy, Globes
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