Israel to lift strict national lockdown on Sunday

Jerusalem, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- The Israeli government approved at the last minute to extend the current national lockdown that was due to end on Friday by two days.

The decision to extend the lockdown until Sunday comes amid sustained high infection rates that have not fallen despite a month of strict restrictions and an advanced vaccination campaign.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, believes that the continued high number of daily infections is due to the new strains of coronavirus, adding that 80 percent of the morbidity in Israel comes from “the British mutation”.

The decision was taken on the recommendation of the Health Ministry: “I call on everyone, even with the gradual opening starting on Sunday, to take strict care to follow the directives,” said its head, Yuli Edelstein.

From Sunday, a gradual reopening of public life will start, although several restrictions will remain in place.

Restaurants will be allowed to start take away services, with people once again permitted to travel more than one kilometer from their homes, while businesses that do not welcome members of the public will also reopen, along with nature reserves, national parks and outdoor heritage sites.

Netanyahu called on the population over the age of 50 to get vaccinated, after detecting a slowdown this week.

More than 3.2 million people have received the first dose and 1.9 have got the second but vaccination centers have seen a drop in attendance, so Israel opened the campaign to all citizens over the age of 16.

“The more people who get vaccinated, with an emphasis on the over-50 age group, the more we can open up the economy gradually, cautiously and responsibly,” the Israeli prime minister said Thursday. EFE-EPA


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