Israel begins gradual deconfinement


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Israel began the first stage of its gradual deconfinement on Sunday, after seeing a drop in the number of cases of people infected with Covid-19, a month after the restrictions came into force.

Israel lifts from Sunday October 18 certain restrictions, including confinement, decided a month ago to contain a Covid-19 contamination rate which was then among the highest in the world.

Nurseries, kindergartens, national parks and beaches have reopened, businesses that do not welcome the public have been able to return to work and Israelis are now allowed to travel more than a kilometer from their homes. Gatherings are however limited to less than ten people indoors and twenty outdoors.

“We go out [du confinement] this time with caution, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday evening, this first phase of deconfinement to be spread over several months, until February 2021.

Containment that remains in force in some cities

Containment, put in place on September 18, remains in effect in several ultra-Orthodox Jewish localities in the country where the infection rate remains high.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most influential Ashkenazi spiritual leaders, has urged his followers to reopen ultra-Orthodox schools, despite the ban by the authorities. Prime Minister Netanyahu specifically called on ultra-Orthodox Jews to “follow the rules” and warned that restrictions would be immediately reinstated if the number of cases escalates.

Israel prided itself on good management of the health crisis in the spring and quickly ended a first lockdown in order to get the economy back on track. But the country of 9 million inhabitants recorded in September one of the highest rates of contamination in the world.

At the end of September, the number of daily contaminations was between 8,000 and 9,000 cases but has fallen below the 2,000 mark since Wednesday. The Israeli Ministry of Health has officially identified more than 302,800 patients, including nearly 2,200 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

With AFP

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