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Spike in Israeli COVID Cases Spawns Return of Restrictions

Israel’s “Corona Cabinet,” consisting of all relevant ministers and government officials, agreed Monday on a number of restrictions to be imposed on the Israeli public. After initially containing the virus with relative success in the first few months, Israel has seen an alarming spike in newly reported cases in recent days – so much so that a slew of European countries downgraded the nation’s rating on the handling of the virus. The EU’s decision to place Israel on the “red list” will bar Israelis from entering the continent, while also significantly reducing the number of tourists visiting the country. The latest restrictions decided on by the government include limiting cultural and entertainment events – concerts, shows, etc. – to 250 participants (effective immediately); limiting weddings, bar mitzvahs and brit milah ceremonies held at indoor venues to 100 participants (effective as of next week); limiting congregations in synagogues, mosques, churches, etc. to 50 participants (effective immediately); performing all academic testing at universities and colleges online from home; and limiting the proportion of employees present at workplaces to 70%. On Monday, 714 new cases were identified in Israel out of over 18,000 tested, continuing the latest rising trend, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 39 to 46.