Israel imposes new restrictions to fight virus spread

Coronavrius test in Israel

What you need to know:

  • Gyms will be closed to the general public seven days a week, while restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery on week days.
  • The statement said that subject to parliamentary approval gatherings of more than 10 people in closed spaces and 20 in the open air, excluding approved workplaces and nuclear families, would be banned.

Jerusalem,

Israel's government said on Friday it was imposing new restrictions to limit the spiralling spread of coronavirus in the hope of avoiding a general lockdown further along the line.

It said that from 5pm local time (1400 GMT) on Friday until 5am every Sunday, malls, stores and other venues will be closed -- a measure that will apply every weekend until further notice.

Gyms will be closed to the general public seven days a week, while restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery on week days, the joint statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office and the health ministry said.

However, "there will be no restriction on leaving one's home," it said.

The statement said that subject to parliamentary approval gatherings of more than 10 people in closed spaces and 20 in the open air, excluding approved workplaces and nuclear families, would be banned.

CRITICISM

The new steps were "to prevent a general lockdown in light of the sharp increase in the morbidity of the coronavirus."

Israel won praise for its initial response to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the government has come under criticism amid a resurgence in cases after lockdown measures were lifted.

The country of some nine million people had recorded 46,059 confirmed cases by Thursday night, including 384 dead.

As Israel moves into high summer, with average daily temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and above, the statement said that beaches would be closed at weekends from July 24.

"Violation of any of the above restrictions shall constitute a criminal offence," the statement said.

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