Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
A woman sits at the empty Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem on September 25, 2020, during a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Health Ministry announced Saturday night several additional restrictions to the lockdown that began Friday at 2 pm in the wake of reports showing an exponential rise in the number of newly confirmed daily cases of the coronavirus.

It is precisely the nightmare scenario that officials at the Health Ministry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly warned about in each televised news briefing, and in each meeting behind closed doors.

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On Wednesday and Thursday the daily count of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed past the 7,000 mark; on Friday and Saturday, it jumped again, leaping past the 8,000 mark.

Almost 9,000 New Cases
On Saturday evening the Health Ministry announced a total of 8,687 new cases were diagnosed since Friday afternoon, out of the 23,387 tests that were carried out — putting the infection rate at 16.6 percent.

The figure raises the total number of active cases to 67,628. Of those, 728 Israelis are listed in very serious condition, including 200 who require ventilator support to survive.

Also from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, 16 people lost their lives to the virus, raising the coronavirus death toll to 1,441. Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 226,586 Israelis have been infected by SARS-CoV-2.

More Restrictions Added
The restrictions listed below are in addition to those already approved by the Knesset and the Coronavirus Cabinet.

A. Leaving one’s place of residence for a permitted objective (for example, going to the supermarket or pharmacy) shall only be within the community in which one’s residence is located except for those actions or objectives that are unobtainable without leaving one’s home community (for example, essential workers leaving for their places of work outside their communities, or people going to assist those with difficulties who live in other communities).

B. People shall not be permitted to leave their places of residence for flights except for the following reasons:

* For actions or objectives permitted by the regulations (such as for medical reasons)

* So as not to harm travelers who purchased tickets until yesterday, flights were permitted for those who purchased tickets by yesterday for any reason.

* A system for exceptional permits by the Transportation Ministry Director General for flights not one of the permitted reasons and for those who purchased tickets after yesterday shall be established.

C. The possibility of going out for treatment by “complementary medicine” shall be cancelled. The possibility of opening public places or businesses to provide complementary medical treatment shall be prohibited.

The foregoing shall not detract from the possibility of receiving medical treatment, according to law, by professional health practitioners: Psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, dieticians, clinical criminologists, podiatrists, surgical podiatrists and chiropractors.

D. Operating venues for athletic training shall be possible only for international athletes and not for competitive athletes.

E. Going to a circumcision or funeral shall be permitted only for close family members (grandparents, parents, spouses, parents of spouses, siblings and their children, or aunts and uncles).

F. Disabled people whose disability requires that they go out into the public sphere for distances beyond 1,000 meters from their place of residence may do so together with one person accompanying them.

2. Decision to allocate soldiers to assist the Israel Police in enforcing instructions pursuant to the law on special authority to deal with the coronavirus

The Cabinet approved the allocation of an additional 500 soldiers to reinforce the Israel Police in its enforcement mission so that the overall number of soldiers now stands at 1,500. According to the system established in the decision, the Cabinet will be able to add an additional 500 soldiers upon the consent of the Defense Minister and the Public Security Minister.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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