Israel begins gradual easing of lockdown measures as Covid-19 cases fall

000_8TC3EG

Israel began easing some lock-in restrictions on Sunday in the first phase of downscaling measures introduced last month to stem the rising new coronavirus infection rates.

“We are going out cautiously (locking in) this time in accordance with the plan set by the experts from the Ministry of Health,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters Saturday night.

But the shutdown remains in place until at least Wednesday Wednesday in some areas designated as “red,” mostly in areas with high-Orthodox populations where infections remain high, according to authorities.

Kindergartens, beaches and national parks reopened on Sunday, as did the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray in East Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Al-Aqsa Mosque connection.

Companies that do not receive the public have also been allowed to restart their activities, and Israelis can now visit friends and family again, but gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 20 outside.

An important measure lifted Sunday was a restriction on people moving more than a mile (less than a mile) from their homes.

This rule sparked anger from some Israelis who claimed it was designed to stop protests against Netanyahu.

The relaxation of some of the rules, which have been in force since Sept. 18 as part of another six-month blockade against the pandemic, was approved Thursday by Netanyahu’s government, provided new cases were no higher than 2,000 per month. Day.

On Friday, according to official figures, there were 1,695 new cases, down from about 8,000-9,000 a day at the end of September.

“If everyone follows the rules, I’m sure it will work,” Netanyahu said.

Israel, a country of about nine million people, has registered 301,896 cases of coronavirus, including 2,141 deaths, as data released Friday.

The lifting of restrictions is planned to take place in several phases until February 2021.

The government came under widespread criticism as cases rose after the country completed an initial week-long shutdown earlier in the year.

The restriction on movement sparked anger from many Israelis, who claimed it was designed to stop protests against Netanyahu, which continued to be held every Saturday since July despite the lockdown measures.

( Jowharwith AFP)