Knesset Battens Down Against Omicron

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett seen gesturing from the quarantine section in the gallery at the Knesset. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

After nine MKs were required to enter isolation on Sunday after possible exposure to the coronavirus Omicron variant, the Knesset decided to implement precautionary measures.

Knesset director Gil Segal announced that “in order to assure the continued functioning of the Knesset,” will have to be scaled back.

“The Omicron variant does not respect parliamentary immunity, and therefore, we have decided that all Knesset activities that are essential to its uninterrupted functioning will continue in accordance with strict adherence to regulations; meanwhile, all unessential activities will be either curtailed or canceled,” said Segal, according to Arutz Sheva.

All tours of and events at the Knesset will be suspended for the time being. Individual votes will be conducted in the public gallery, with each Knesset member called individually by roll call. Occupancy of Knesset conference rooms and halls will be limited to 37 people in conference rooms and 43 people in the Yerushalayim and Negev halls.

In the Knesset cafeteria, a favorite gathering place for politicians and journalists, no seating will be permitted, and the Knesset gym will be shut until further notice. A maximum of 20 people will be permitted to enter the Knesset synagogue at any one time, while observing social distancing (six feet between people).

“This new variant presents us with a considerable challenge, but the Knesset will continue to act with responsibility and with continual consultation with experts from the Health Ministry,” Segal said.