The coronavirus cabinet broke up on Thursday without making any decisions for the coming festivals over objections by the ultra-religious parties. Coronavirus director Prof. Ronni Gamzu proposed limiting people’s movements out of home to 500m, closing hotels, restaurants and places of entertainment, cutting down on public transport and all gatherings, including synagogues. This near shutdown would be imposed during the four weeks of the High Holidays, starting in the second half of September on the assumption that business activity and schools are relatively inactive during the holiday period and so the economic damage would be slight. The Shas and United Jewish Torah ministers were up in arms over restrictions on synagogue worship on the holiest days of the Jewish year. They also resented the classification of many religious districts as “red zones” due to the high proportion of covid-19 cases there. The cabinet session continues next week.
On Thursday, the spike in coronavirus infection refused to decline below the steady 1,600 level. Another 53 previously uncounted cases (due to a recording error) were added, raising the total to 98,550, including 23,913 active cases and 403 in serious condition. The number of deaths rose to 789.