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Israel: As Number of Cases Spike, So Do Restrictions

Israel continued to see a rise in coronavirus cases on Sunday, as a record 1,115 people were diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours, despite a dip in the number of tests administered. A total of 84 Israelis are in serious condition, more than double the number of serious cases a week ago, and 330 have died – 22 of them in the past week. A new set of restrictions, agreed upon by the government last week, kicked in on Sunday, limiting public gatherings to 50 people at cultural events and 20 people at other social gatherings. As the number of cases and the test-positivity rate continue to surge, the “Corona Cabinet” will reconvene Sunday to discuss a number of additional restrictions, such as further limiting the number of customers allowed in restaurants and stores. Meanwhile, the police have intensified their enforcement of the current restrictions, as eight emergency headquarters were set up across the country, tasked with inspecting public transport systems, commercial venues and restaurants and handing out fines when necessary. Over the weekend, more than 30,000 Israelis were ordered by the authorities to isolate themselves – a result of the government authorizing the Shin Bet to track citizens’ movements and locations by cellphone starting last Thursday. Civil rights groups have criticized the move.