Seeing as coronavirus infections across Israel are on the rise, Israel’s Health Ministry has suggested that the country will go back to shutting down commercial businesses as early as next week, once Chanukah festivities end.
According to a media report on Tuesday, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that if Israel continues the current trend of increase in morbidity rate, then another lockdown will effectively begin next week. “We will be forced to shut down retail and trade,” Edelstein told Reshet Bet on Tuesday, “given the coronavirus statistics we’re seeing right now.” He noted that “The government already decided on very clear criteria regarding reimposition of restrictions. We said that when we reach 2,500 new cases per day, with an R-rate of 1.32, that’s when it happens. We’re not far off that now.”
According to the report, stores, malls, and businesses will likely be closed for a period of five weeks and will see stages of re-opening, as has been the practice before. Some performance spaces and shopping malls may be allowed to reopen if all attendees present a document proving they have either recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it.
The Ministry feels that the restrictions that are put in place will need to last for a longer period of time in order to create the desired drop in the morbidity rate. On the other hand, schools in virus hotspots will be closed if new restrictions are imposed.
In the interview, Edelstein also said of the safety of the vaccine, “I will most probably be vaccinated on Saturday night. I won’t ask any member of the general public to do something that I am not personally prepared to do – that’s an elementary principle for any public servant. To date, there are no preexisting health conditions that have been officially listed as reasons for any person to refrain from being vaccinated.”
According to the Health Ministry figures, there are 18,832 active coronavirus cases in the country, and since the start of the pandemic earlier this year, there have been 360,630 cases diagnosed in Israel, and 3,014 people have died of COVID-19.