The country’s death toll stands at 126 people. Officials considering third lockdown for Memorial and Independence days
Israelis are entering the final days of Passover under coronavirus restrictions similar to Seder night that require the public to stay in their homes and celebrate only with their nuclear families.
The government unanimously approved that until 5 a.m. on Thursday, Israelis will not be permitted to leave their towns and cities. In Jerusalem, movement will be restricted within pre-defined neighborhoods.
Moreover, to prevent crowding following the conclusion of Passover on Wednesday evening, bakeries and supermarket bread departments will not reopen until Thursday morning.
As Passover ends, the government, the National Security Council and the Health and Defense ministries are supposed to hold a series of meetings to decide on the first phase of the country’s exit strategy.
However, even if the economy is opened more in general, it was reported that a Passover-like lockdown is likely to be implemented for Memorial Day through the end of Israeli Independence Day, the Hebrew website N12 reported.
Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron in Hebrew, starts April 27 at night and Independence Day ends April 29 at sundown.
The purpose of the expected move is to prevent people from attending memorial ceremonies en masse, holding large gatherings in cemeteries or throwing barbeques and other parties in large groups and in public spaces, as is common on Independence Day.
The decision to implement restrictions will be based in part on how well the public does or does not adhere to the Passover restrictions and whether the number of people infected with coronavirus per day continues at its current rate or decreases or increases.
The country’s death toll rose to 126 people Wednesday morning, as Soroka Medical Center reported an elderly patient had died from the disease.
A total of 12,200 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed by the Health Ministry, including 176 patients in serious condition, 132 requiring ventilation. Some 2,309 individuals have recovered from the virus.
Wolfson Medical Center in Holon confirmed that among those infected is an eight-day-old baby, who was born at Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. The baby was brought to Wolfson because he had a high fever, but he is currently in good medical condition. His mother shows no sign of coronavirus.
A total of 7,680 tests were carried out between Sunday and Monday morning, the Health Ministry said, up from less than 6,000 a few days before. The ministry said it is targeting 10,000 daily tests during the Passover holiday.
The concern is that if there is not a near-full closure on Memorial and Independence days, then social distancing and other restrictions will be difficult to enforce.
All state ceremonies are already planned to be held without audiences and with limited participation.