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Israel Tightens Eased Restrictions after 2nd Wave of COVID-19

Israel Tightens Eased Restrictions after 2nd Wave of COVID-19

Wednesday, 1 July, 2020 - 10:15
Medical staff at Tel Aviv's largest hospital, the Sheba Medical Center. AFP

The Israeli government has rolled back eased coronavirus restrictions after a second wave of infections hit the country.

After July 10 and until at least July 31, weddings that take place indoors shall be limited to no more than 50% capacity, with no more than 100 people in attendance. Events in open spaces can continue to host 250 guests.

Social gatherings, sermons and funeral ceremonies must be capped at an attendance of 50 people.

The Knesset Intelligence Subcommittee on Tuesday voted 5-3 to reinstate the Shin Bet’s (Israel Security Agency) surveillance of citizens infected with the coronavirus.

Restoring the program is a victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite opposition from Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman.

Netanyahu and his allies portrayed the dilemma as choosing between the lesser of two evils: sacrificing some privacy to Shin Bet surveillance or being compelled to lock down the country’s economy again.

The Israeli Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday that the number of virus infections continues to rise worryingly, and that there are many economic consequences that deepen the crisis and need to be curbed again. During the past 24 hours alone, 714 cases of COVID-19 were recorded.

The tally of active cases in Israel has reached 7,015. Data shows that the number of infections has tripled in June.

The Health Ministry confirmed that the daily rate of infections has gone up when compared to the rate in early April. The number of COVID-19 deaths has reached 319.

In other news, workers from the tourism industry protested outside the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem on Tuesday, as the industry continues to remain largely closed due to coronavirus restrictions and the lack of tourists.

Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association Chairman Danny Amir has said that the tourism sector, throughout the decades, had generated $12 billion yearly, but that it is collapsing today and no one is considering saving it.

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