The Knesset coronavirus committee on Sunday approved limitation on congregation in event halls, bars and clubs to no more than 50 people as of Monday after Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch said on Sunday that Israel is currently in the midst of a second coronavirus wave that's more "difficult and dangerous" than the first one.
Israel has in recent weeks seen a resurgence of COVID-19, with the number of active patients, currently sick with the pathogen, passing the 10,000 mark on Friday - for the first time since the start of the epidemic.
Kisch told the Knesset's committee, tasked with battling the health crisis, that Israel is waging "a war of attrition" against coronavirus.
"The percentage of confirmed cases has seen a sharp increase," he said. "From half a percent in mid-May to five percent today. We must work to significantly limit mass gatherings, we have to pray outside in small groups," he added, referring to mass gatherings at synagogues.
"The aim of the restrictions we're imposing is to prevent a lockdown," he said. "I feel everyone's pain, but if we do not take these significant steps today, we will pay a much more expensive price with our health and economy."
Prof. Eli Waxman, the head of the team of experts that's advising the National Security Council, also spoke during the meeting, telling the ministers if "dramatic" restrictions on movement are not imposed soon, in two weeks' time the number of sick will be so high that another nationwide lockdown would be inevitable.
Waxman also advised to closed beaches and public parks. "Wherever there are gatherings there is danger."
"Of course, restaurants will be closed, the things that Waxman presented are dramatic, we're on the way to harsh restrictions," said one minister after the meeting.
In the meantime, the Health Ministry published a report, showing that since the start of July, the number of daily coronavirus cases has been averaging 961 new diagnoses a day, three times higher than the average during the first five days of April - when Israel was experiencing the peak of the epidemic.
First published: 14:42 , 07.05.20