Further easing of covid-19 restrictions on hold

The Coronavirus cabinet failed on Wednesday to agree on the second stage of Israel’s exit from a three-week lockdown. Health authorities insist on first waiting for 10 days to review the impact of the first steps on the contagion figures, which included the reopening on Sunday of pre-schools and workplaces with no public access. The cabinet will meet again next week, hoping by then also to resolve the arguments over the safe reopening of schools and shops. The slowdown of infection meanwhile continues: 1,089 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours, boosting the total to 307,765. Of the 19,344 active cases, 591 were judged serious and 231 placed on ventilators. Although the death toll climbed to 2,292, only 2.7pc of the 47,000 tests conducted on Tuesday turned out positive.

Mental health clinics are reporting a 20pc increase in appeals for help from both regular patients and new ones since the onset of the pandemic in March.

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