Amidst growing numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths, Israel is set to close gyms, malls, markets, stalls and beauty salons from 5pm today to Sunday 5am, in its toughest weekend lockdown yet.
The temporary restrictions come as Israel’s Health Ministry confirmed more than 12,000 new cases over the past week, as well as 59 new deaths and an increase of 89 in the number of serious cases.
Total figures now stand at 58,559 cases and 446 deaths, with 302 serious active cases, including 81 patients on ventilators. Active cases, including those in a moderate, mild or asymptomatic condition, currently stand at 32,226, a slight decrease accounted for by changes in the counting method.
Israel’s weekend closures, set to continue for at least the next couple of weeks, will not affect beaches, swimming pools, pharmacies, supermarkets or public transport, while restaurants will abide by the same rules set out for other week days, limiting capacity to 20 indoor and 30 outdoor diners.
The new measures follow a hectic week for the Israeli government, with a number of cabinet-proposed restrictions overturned by a Knesset panel designated to oversee Israel’s coronavirus response, known as the Knesset Coronavirus Committee.
The parliamentary wrangling centred around bitter disputes between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and fellow Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, who heads the Coronavirus Committee.