Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon announced a series of new measures this evening designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and a package of aid to the economy.
The main new directives are:
The government will approve emergency regulations allowing the use of digital means of locating coronavirus patients for a period of thirty days.
There will be no general lockdown, but local lockdowns will be imposed in places where there is an outbreak of coronavirus.
Until the end of the Passover holiday (i.e. for four weeks) three measures will apply:
- The public sector, including local government, will switch to an emergency footing. There will be fewer workers at government ministries from Wednesday morning. Workers will be sent on paid leave, at the expense of their vacation allowance, until after Passover.
- In the private sector, the number of workers in places of work will be reduced by 70%. This will not include workplaces with ten or fewer workers, as long as the workers maintain a distance of at least two meters from each other.
- Emergency services will operate at full strength. Supermarkets and grocery stores, the health system, pharmacies, banks, welfare institutions, the police, and so forth, will continue to work as normal.
Public transport continues to operate, but travelers should check for changes on the Ministry of Transport website.
People placed on unpaid leave will receive unemployment benefit.
Payments to the authorities by small and medium-size businesses, such as VAT and municipal rates, will be deferred.
"Around the world there has been a steep rise in the number of patients and in fatalities. Here, the rise has been moderate, and we are doing everything to keep the situation under control," Netanyahu said in introducing the new measures.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 16, 2020
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