Netanyahu warns ministers: Only tighter restrictions now can avert full lockdown

The toughest decisions to impose a weekend lockdown and close summer schools were put on ice by the stormy cabinet meeting Thursday night, July 16. In support of the stepped-up fight for combating coronavirus – relentlessly spiraling since June – other restrictions were approved with immediate effect. They included restaurants – no seating only takeaway and home deliveries. Gatherings were again downsized to 10 at indoor venues and 20 outside.
The weekend lockdown – if it is passed by parliament in the coming week – will go into effect on July 24 and, from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, will confined people at home, except for essential errands, and shutter shops, malls, markets, hairdressers, beauty salons, zoos, museums, exhibitions, pools, gyms and tourist attractions. There was no indication of the duration of the virtual curfew to be imposed from the coming weekend.

Seaside beaches remained open this Friday but will be closed to the public as of next weekend. The most contentious measure, the closure of summer schools and kindergartens, was set aside for Binyamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz to resolve this weekend.

Both heads of government warned the dissenting ministers: “If we don’t act now, however hard it may be, we’ll soon be heading for another total lockdown.”
Netanyahu added: “Without the new restrictions we will be faced with 1,600 seriously ill coronavirus patients. This would be eight times the current figure and the hospitals already under severe pressure will be overtaxed.

According to the figures released by the Health Ministry on Friday morning, another 1,563 tested positive for coronavirus, raising the total to 46,059, including 23,305 active cases, and 202 in serious condition. Overnight, 5 people died, lifting the death toll to 384. Tests have produced an alarming 7+percent positive cases.

The IDF reported that 722 men and women in uniform were confirmed with the virus and more than 10,000 in quarantine.  

At the conference the prime minister conducted prior to the cabinet session with health experts and the National Security Council, he heard from Prof. Hezi Levi, Health Ministry Dir. Gen., that while many institutions worldwide were racing for a result, a covid-19 vaccine was not expected to be available for general use before next year.

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