Tightened Lockdown Rules Take Effect

Police set up temporary roadblocks on Road 40, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on Friday. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said Friday morning that 7,597 new cases of coronavirus were reported from over 122,000 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, meaning that 6.2% of all tests returned positive.

There were 873 patients hospitalized in serious condition and 220 of them were on ventilators.

Since the onset of the pandemic in Israel, 3,565 people have died due to coronavirus, 21 of them on Thursday alone.

Meanwhile, as restrictions tightening a lockdown went into effect Thursday at midnight, Israel Police released a list detailing just how much the public should expect to pay if they are caught in violation of the rules.

According to the police, anyone caught violating a mandatory quarantine will be fined NIS 5,000 ($1,570). Failure to report an obligation to enter quarantine will set the offender back NIS 3,000 ($940). Refusing a police officer’s order to disperse will result in a NIS 1,000 ($315) fine.

Being in a public place or business that is forbidden from opening or praying in violation of the guidelines will incur a NIS 500 ($160) fine, as will failing to wear a mask outside of an individual’s place of residence.

According to Assistant Commissioner Yishai Shalem, who heads the Israel Police’s operations department, this time around, “We will use a much heavier hand, and we will enforce the restrictions even more forcefully.”

Shalem said that “on intercity traffic arteries, checkpoints will be placed in the right places, where we will have an influence and not cause traffic jams. During the day, there will be fewer checkpoints in the center than in the north and south. Between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., there will be many more checkpoints.”

“Within the cities, patrols will be carried out on foot and barricades will be set up at entrances and exits, and in exceptional cases, we will enforce them,” he said.

While Shalem indicated police would not “be petty” and fine people for straying 100 meters (yards) further from their home than permitted, he did say that those caught going much farther than the 1,000-meter limit would be fined.

According to Shalem, around 5,000 officers, including riot police, would be deployed to enforce the tightened lockdown.

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