Israel Tightens Third Lockdown

Israel suffered 7,597 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with 6.2 percent of almost 125,000 tests yielding positive results. Whilst still too high, that positive test ratio has declined over the last few days.

The death toll in the country rose by 38 people to a total of 3,565 since the pandemic began. Out of 65,514 active cases, 1,481 people are currently being treated in hospitals.

Among those in hospital, 873 are in a serious condition, including 220 patients needing ventilation.

These were the figures at the beginning of Israel’s tightened lockdown restrictions that started today and are planned to last for at least two weeks. Almost all non-essential businesses should now be closed and most of the education system should be operating online.

However, Israel’s government has made exceptions for special education institutions, boarding schools and schools for young people at-risk.

The Education Ministry outlined its plans to ensure the continuity of the studies:

  • For students in special institutions, the ministry will work with local government to open day centres for children aged from 3 to 12 from Sundays to Thursdays.
  • Remote learning for all other students.

This new situation bears many similarities to that in the UK.

Israeli police started to enforce the new rules more strictly on Friday, dispersing gatherings, closing stores and using loudspeakers to urge citizens to follow the guidelines.

Many feel that the early stage of the third lockdown was not enforced well and included many reasons for people to go out. The tightened lockdown had an immediate impact on travel, with an estimated 70 percent reduction in traffic.

Checkpoints have been set up on main roads, as well as inside towns and cities.