Israeli Independence Day began on Tuesday night under the cloud of the coronavirus epidemic, forcing the annual public ceremonies to be held without crowds, fireworks cancelled, outdoor barbeques banned and the roads and hiking trails empty.
The nationwide curfew that went into effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday will last until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, an emergency measure voted on by the Cabinet earlier in the week.
Police have deployed into a web of 44 roadblocks on main roads throughout the country, checking vehicles to verify that no one is in violation of the ban on intercity travel. As during the Pesach lockdown, exception will be made for medical and other “vital” needs.
Physical exercise will be permitted at distances up to 500 yards from one’s home.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, news of the coronavirus continued to be encouraging. Although two more deaths were recorded during the day, pushing the toll to 210, other statistics were positive:
The Health Ministry announced 173 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, continuing a marked slowdown in the rate of infection, and bringing the total number of infections to 15,728.
According to the Health Ministry, 116 people are in serious condition, 92 of whom are on ventilators. Another 82 people are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.
So far, 7,746 Israelis have recovered from the coronavirus.