Israel begins gradual easing of national lockdown

Jerusalem, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- Israel on Sunday began gradually easing national lockdown restrictions that have seen people confined to within one kilometer of their homes for more than a month.

Although people can once again travel more freely, businesses remain subject to closures or capacity limits.

Restaurants can now serve take-out food, national parks can reopen and B&Bs can accommodate members of the same family.

Ben Gurion International Airport will remain virtually closed, but the government has approved the return of Israelis stranded abroad since before January 25, when flights were limited to humanitarian and emergency cases.

Restrictions were relaxed Sunday after several delays due to the ongoing high morbidity in the country, which continues to record positive test rates of over 9 percent, and given the advanced state of Israel’s vaccination campaign.

Nearly 3.5 million residents have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than two million have received the second dose, although the pace of vaccination has slowed in the last week and authorities are encouraging citizens to get inoculated.

Israeli authorities are confident that immunization will begin to be reflected in a decrease in the number of infections in the coming weeks, although they warn that the new strains have accelerated infection rates.

The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that 80 percent of the morbidity in Israel is due to the British mutation of the virus. EFE-EPA


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