Gov’t Set to Approve Lockdown Over Weekends to Contain Coronavirus

YERUSHALAYIM -
Medical workers test residents of South Tel Aviv at a temporarily built site to collect samples for coronavirus, in South Tel Aviv on Thursday. (Flash90)

It is expected that the government will approve a set of new coronavirus restrictions on Thursday evening that would include lockdowns over the weekend, restrictions on gatherings limited to 20 people in open spaces and 10 in closed spaces, and restaurants reverting to delivery only.

The forum of ministers headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Thursday morning for an extending meeting.

“Following the jump to about 1,800 new daily cases and the steep rise in the doubling of the seriously ill every seven days, I now spoke with the Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, head of the National Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat, and with Science and Technology Minister Yizhar Shai on the possibility of interim measures that will avoid the need for a general closure,” Netanyahu said.

According to the Health Ministry, Israel has now over 200 coronavirus patients in serious condition.

The closure on weekends will include malls and beaches. Pools operating in hotels will be able to continue to operate.

At the same time, on weekdays the restrictions will be tightened: in places that are more open gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed, and in closed places a gathering of up to 10 people will be allowed, including shuls.

Gyms will be closed, and restaurants will be closed to diners, who will be able to order food only through deliveries.

The government will also ask to approve an immediate halt to the summer school initiative such that students will not return to it anymore.

“This is basically the goal, to take intermediate steps to prevent a general closure in light of the huge jump in infections to about 1,800 people and the doubling of seriously ill patients every seven days,” Netanyahu said.

The goal of these new restrictions is to get down to 400 new patients per day by August 31. In early September, the government will reassess.