A vote took place in the middle of the night on Thursday so that the government could decide whether to extend the current coronavirus lockdown that has been implemented in the country. After the meeting, it was announced that the lockdown will be lifted at 7am on Sunday. On that morning, relevant authorities will start lifting restrictions that have been placed on the public.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, appreciated the coronavirus cabinet for accepting the recommendations that were made by him and the Health Ministry. However, he did add that some changes were made to the advices that were given. The meeting lasted for nearly 12 hours, right after which the leader released his statement.
He continued to add that though the lockdown will only last until Sunday morning, the public should be strictly cautious when it comes to following directives. He also encouraged the citizens to go and get vaccinated.
According to the Prime Minister, the vaccines are effective. He especially urged people aged over 50 to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In his opinion, the more responsible the citizens are, the easier it will be to gradually reopen the economy.
On Sunday morning, the first thing that will happen is the abolition of the 1,000-meter restriction. This particular guideline prevents people from traveling a distance of more than 1,000 meters from home. Secondly, national parks and nature reserves, as well as conservation sites will be open to the public. Locations that come under the auspices of the antiquities authority can be visited but, only if they are in the open air.
In addition to all these allowances, employees working corporate jobs that do not require them to directly see the public will be given permission to resume work at their office. One-on-one services will also be brought back, as well as takeaway facilities at cafes and restaurants.
Moreover, nuclear families will be welcomed at bed and breakfasts. The cabinet also decided that schools will be allowed to open sometime in the upcoming week. But, this decision will be made after the Education and Health Ministries agree on an outline for education.
The Health Ministry has stated several times that students residing in green and yellow zones should be the only ones allowed to return to school. As per this plan, 60% of the children in the country will have to continue with online learning. However, a final decision is yet to be made in cohesion with the Education Ministry in Israel.
The government has decided to hold another meeting on Sunday to continue their discussion of an exit strategy.
The Health Minister, Yuli Edelstein, also released a statement. He expressed happiness at the fact that the government was able to put aside its political differences and reach a compromise. He asserted that the health of the public lies far above political squabbling. Furthermore, the Minister encouraged the relevant authorities that it is not appropriate to play with the lives of the people.