Two more people succumbed to the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the national death toll to 202, the Health Ministry said in an evening update.
The ministry said 112 people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, continuing a downward trend in the daily rate of infection in recent days.
The total number of people diagnosed with the virus in the country stood at 15,555. Of those, 126 have serious symptoms and 96 are on ventilators. So far, 7,200 people have recovered, 496 of them over the past day.
Israel’s government has begun easing lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing an outbreak of the virus, which has also brought the economy to an almost total standstill.
Many stores and businesses were allowed to resume operations Sunday, on condition that hygiene regulations related to the virus were adhered to. In addition, restaurants and food shops were allowed to sell products for takeaway, not just home deliveries, as long as a physical barrier was placed between the cashier and the customers.
The cabinet on Monday approved a plan that could see a gradual reopening of schools next week.
Over the weekend, the Health Ministry defined new parameters on which to base its decisions regarding the easing or tightening of restrictions on the public and the economy, amid widespread criticism of a confused decision-making process.
According to Hebrew media reports, any of the following conditions will likely result in increased restrictions, while remaining below these thresholds will promise continued relief:
- Over 300 new sick people per day (numbers have hovered between 100 and 200 in recent days);
- Over 300 seriously ill patients;
- A doubling of the national number of sick every 10 days or less (currently cases are doubling around every 20 days).
Despite the general easing of restrictions, the cabinet last week voted in favor of severely limiting commemorations and celebrations of Israel’s Independence and Memorial days and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in the latest bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Military cemeteries were ordered shut for Memorial Day, which began on Monday evening, preventing bereaved families from visiting the graves of fallen soldiers and terror victims. A scaled down memorial ceremony attended by President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi was held at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, but without a participating audience. The ceremony was broadcast live.
On Independence Day, which begins Tuesday evening and ends Wednesday evening, a general curfew will be in effect requiring people to remain within 100 meters of their homes — except for medical needs — and banning intercity travel, similar to the curfew earlier this month for Passover. Supermarkets will not be open.
The Independence Day curfew will begin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and end at 8 p.m. the next day.