Photo Credit: PM Netanyahu screen grab via Facebook
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that preparations be made to “significantly” tighten restrictions even further on Israelis’ movements in order to further reduce the number of people outside their homes.

The prime minister said in a release from his office the move is necessary in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. As part of that move, the Finance Ministry will formulate a plan to further reduce work, the release said.

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As of Saturday night 9 pm, there were 3,619 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the State of Israel. Twelve people had died from the virus, and 1,300 fines were issued to those who violated the restrictions.

“The Prime Minister directed that enforcement be stepped up at supermarkets and at pharmacies in order to ensure the maintaining of safe distances, disinfecting and strict adherence to Health Ministry instructions,” the statement said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu added that if there is no improvement in the rate of infection in the next two days, there will be no alternative but to impose a lockdown.

New plans to tighten restrictions on movement are to be presented to the Prime Minister and ministers over the next 48 hours, the release added.

An economic discussion between the prime minister and finance officials on a comprehensive economic assistance plan was slated for Saturday night.

The ministers of Finance, Health, Defense, Energy, Interior and Public Security, as well as the head of the National Security Council, the Attorney General, the Governor of the Bank of Israel, the acting Commissioner of the Israel Police and the director generals of the Health and Finance ministries, and the Prime Minister’s Office, along with other officials, participated in the discussions.

Also on Friday, the Cabinet voted its approval by telephone on a list of emergency regulations which included the following:

1. National Service
The regulation enables the stationing of national service volunteers in agencies in which such volunteers, according to the current situation, could not be used.

2. Unemployment Insurance, Special Grant to Israelis 67+
The regulation shortens the period of time required to receive unemployment benefits to six months and provides assistance to people aged 67 and over whose work has been interrupted due to the corona crisis.

3. Criminal Proceedings in Military Courts via Technological Means
The regulation approves holding urgent criminal proceedings regarding prisoners by technological means.

4. Prevents Entry of Visitors, Lawyers to Military Guardrooms,Prisons
The regulation is an amendment and clarification regarding the holding of proceedings in military guardrooms and prisons with visitors and attorneys.

5. Special Furlough for Prisoners
The regulation will allow for the early release of prisoners who were due to have been released in the next few weeks, in accordance with the definitions that have been determined, in order to prevent infection in prisons.

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