Israeli Officials Weigh Gradual Easing of Lockdown
Israel, currently in its second nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, could be moving toward a gradual alleviation of restrictions if the rate of infections continues to decline. Recent days have shown a decrease in both new cases as well as positivity rates for testing. If the number of new cases drops to a daily figure of around 2,000, Israel’s so-called coronavirus cabinet will allow the reopening of pre-schools on or around October 18, as well as businesses that do not involve face-to-face meetings with customers. The half-mile limit on travel as well as stiff restrictions against political protests would also be lifted. In addition, more takeoffs and landings would be allowed at Ben-Gurion Airport. A second phase, scheduled to begin at the start of November if new cases drop to a rate of 1,000 per day, will see studies resume for grades 1-4, the partial reopening of synagogues and a resumption of elective medical procedures. A third stage, requiring a further decline to just 500 new cases per day, would see the reopening of businesses that receive customers, as well as gyms, shopping malls and markets. Once new cases drop to 250 a day, restaurants, cafes as well as various leisure attractions will be allowed to reopen. Planners are hoping to move to a new stage every two weeks. The current lockdown is blamed on a hasty reopening from the first nationwide closure.