Israel on Increased Lockdown For Holidays After COVID Infections Spike to Record High
The Health Ministry announced on Friday morning that a record-high 7,527 new Coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Thursday after 59 people died from the disease overnight, the most in a single day since the start of the pandemic. This marked the second day in a row with over 6,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. There are currently 669 people in serious condition, of which 167 are on ventilators. Another 246 are in moderate condition. 12.8% of the 60,524 tests carried out reportedly came back positive. The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic stood at 214,458 with 1,378 deaths.
A national shutdown is already in place but the government is considering making measures more stringent. Such new measures exceed what was legally mandated and will need Knesset approval. After passing the cabinet, these measures were presented Thursday evening and as of Friday morning were still being considered. If approved, the new measures will go into effect at 2 PM Friday afternoon and remain in place until at least October 11.
The new measures are as follows:
- All businesses will be closed, with the exception of specific companies and factories designated as “essential” by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Authority.
- Supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware/houseware stores, eyeglass stores, electronic stores, laundromats are deemed essential and will remain open.
- Restaurants, malls, hotels, swimming pools, gyms, hairdressers, and other leisure services are closed.
- The decision exempts supermarkets and pharmacies from the closure and allows restaurants to work on a home-delivery basis only.
- Protests are only allowed in socially distanced capsules of 20 people each with a maximum of 2,000 people. Traveling more than a kilometer to reach a protest will be prohibited.
- Public transportation will not be running.
- Most educational institutions will be closed with the exception of special education programs and private pre-schools.
- People will not be permitted to travel more than a kilometer (0.6 miles) from their homes but only if their destination is outdoors and not a gathering. Police will be deployed on highways and at the entrances to cities and towns to ensure Israelis don’t attempt to travel during the lockdown.
- You may not enter another person’s house unless you’re there to help a person in need or for urgent work.
- Reports have indicated that the final approved lockdown may also include closing Ben-Gurion airport.
The shutdown will include the holidays of Yom Kippur and Sukkoth. Though the precise limitations on prayer are still being debated, it is believed they will be:
- A socially distanced outdoor prayer session of up to 20 people is permitted. You may only attend prayers within one kilometer of your home. On Yom Kippur, 10 people will be allowed inside synagogues at a time, but otherwise, they will be shut.
- You may go out of the kilometer boundary to purchase Sukkot holiday items, including the ritual lulav and etrog
Travel is restricted to one kilometer except for the following cases:
- Travel to work classified as essential is permitted.
- Purchasing food or essential supplies, including phones and electrical goods.
- Aiding the elderly or those in need; going to a doctor’s appointment, including alternative medicine, or therapy.
- Going to the Knesset.
- Donating blood.
- Participating in legal proceedings.
- Exercising, alone or with members of the same household, provided the starting point is from home.
- Attending a funeral or circumcision
- Going to the airport for an overseas flight.
- Women may travel to a ritual bath or mikveh.
- Caring for animals.
- Playgrounds and parks will remain open but you may only go to one within one kilometer of your home.
- Residents of welfare programs or programs for people with disabilities and their relatives are permitted to move freely between the institutions and homes.
- No more than three people may travel in the same car, except for members of the same family. For larger vehicles, another passenger is permitted per each additional row of seats.
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