Israel ‘hits emergency brake’ on easing of COVID-19 restrictions

June 9, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The Israeli government has decided to pause the easing of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions after the country experienced an increase in the rate of infection in recent days.

Infographic of the Coronavirus. Feb 22, 2020. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Over 930 patients were diagnosed in the first eight days of June, almost as much as the 1,186 patients diagnosed throughout the entire month of May.

However, the number of patients on life support remained stable and is far from the situation in mid-April, a crucial number in determining the health system’s ability to contend with the pandemic.

The Corona Cabinet met Monday and decided not to open the train system and hold back on the easing of several other restrictions.

“What we decided to do, first of all, is to hit the emergency brake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated after the meeting. “We stopped all of the measures to ease restrictions that we were going to apply in the coming days.”

Officials noted the “very steep increase in morbidity,” almost the doubling of the rate of infection within 10 days.

However, the cabinet decided not to shut down the school system for the time being.

Netanyahu urged Israel’s citizens to wear masks, keep two meters’ distance and maintain hygiene through the washing of hands.

“I ask you, for our economy, for our health and for the lives of us all – please follow the rules,” he said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced after the meeting that “as long as there is no dramatic exacerbation of the infection rate – there will be no withdrawal from the lifting of restrictions already granted.”

“Life alongside the Corona, not under the Corona,” he stressed.

The Ministry of Health updated Monday evening that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Israel, 18,032 people have been diagnosed as positive for the virus, 15,127 of whom have already recovered.

The ministry registered 125 new infections on Monday. There are currently 2,607 active patients in Israel, of whom 29 are in serious condition and 23 are on life support.

298 people have died of the virus in Israel.

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