PM: “We’re One Step Away From Full Lockdown, Gov’t Approves Immediate Closure Of Halls, Gyms

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The inside of MDA's new "ambulance-bus."

There are currently 30,100 cases of the coronavirus in Israel with the number of active patients reaching 11,856, of whom 90 are seriously ill and 32 are on ventilators. The death toll has risen to 331.

Israel’s coronavirus cabinet convened for an emergency meeting on Monday to decide on further restrictions to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus throughout Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ said at the meeting that Israel “is one step away from a full lockdown,” adding that if new restrictions are not imposed immediately, the number of seriously ill patients can reach thousands in a matter of weeks, paralyzing Israel’s health system.

The cabinet unanimously decided on the following restrictions in accordance with the recommendations of the Health Ministry: [The measures still require Knesset approval but are expected to be approved by Monday night.]

  • The closure of event halls, clubs and bars.
  • Restaurants – no more than 20 people in a closed space and no more than 30 in an open area at widely spaced tables
  • Gyms and public swimming pools are to be closed.
  • Cultural shows are to be closed.
  • Hotels and tourism – Clubs and bars on hotel grounds shall not operate. Restaurants and dining halls may have no more than 20 people in a closed space.
  • Houses of worship – No more than 19 people.
  • Other gatherings – Up to 20 participants, with 2 meters’ distance between people and the wearing of masks.
  • Organized sports to be permitted without spectators (No change from the existing situation).
  • Summer schools, camps and youth activities – To be allowed only for toddlers up to the 4th grade. The Cabinet authorizes the Health Ministry Director-General to decide regarding educational activities for the 5th grade and up in consultation with the Higher Education Minister.
  • Buses – Up to 20 people per bus. The Cabinet authorizes the Minister of Transportation to decide on another number with the agreement of the Health Minister and the head of the National Security Council (to take effect immediately).
  • Work in government ministries and companies – At least 30% of work from home, according to rules to be determined by the Civil Service Commissioner.

The Constitution, Law and Justice Knesset Committee voted on Monday morning to approve a bill increasing the fine for failing to wear a mask in a public place from NIS 200 to NIS 500. The bill, which still has to be approved in the Knesset plenum, will be brought for a vote by Monday evening.

Deputy Jerusalem mayor Tzvika Cohen, who serves as head of the Shas faction in the Jerusalem municipality, was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Monday morning, sending the entire Shas faction in the muncipality into quarantine, the Jerusalem Municipality stated on Monday.

Michal Halbastam, a representative of Belz for the Agudas Yisrael party in the Jerusalem city council, was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Sunday, sending municipal employees who had been in contact with her into quarantine.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)