Health Ministry guidelines for people to stay home were made mandatory – initially for 7 days – as of Friday, March 20 under emergency regulations approved overnight in phone calls to the ministers. Coronavirus numbers shot up to 677 Thursday night, a jump of 244 in 24 hours and are expected to continue to rise exponentially. A woman of 89 is in critical condition at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yakov Litzman clarified the exceptions to the directive for the few people going to work for essential jobs, shopping for food and medicines, or in need of medical treatment, but they may not congregate in any public place.
Health ministry director Moshe Bar Simantov added that the tough new measures will drastically reduce the number of people outside their home environment, but they are still short of a total lockdown so long as people cooperate responsibly. He stressed that Israel was still at the outset of the fight against covid-19. “I’m telling you frankly that the country is in for a long battle against the plague, we don’t know how long, but we are getting organized for a long-term scenario.”
The Supreme Court in Jerusalem Thursday granted an interim injunction permitting the Shin Bet domestic security to monitor the phones of confirmed coronavirus patients in order to locate their contacts and send them into quarantine, but it is not allowed to enforce the measure before Monday, when it is aired before a specially-convened Knesset committee.
The number of people who have died worldwide from coronavirus reached 10,000 on Friday.
President Donald Trump cancelled the June meeting of Group 7
world leaders at Camp David due to the coronavirus pandemic and made the
gathering a video-teleconference, the White House announced.