Police officials said on Thursday that officers have yet to be instructed to enforce a Health Ministry directive requiring civilians to wear protective masks when in public to stave off the spread of coronavirus.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar-Siman-Tov announced the new directive on Wednesday and Health Ministry Deputy Director-General Dr. Itamar Grotto confirmed on Thursday in an interview with Army Radio that the directive came into effect.
However, police are still waiting for an official document from the Ministry of Justice clarifying how to enforce the directive, under what conditions and what penalty it will carry.
Also on Thursday, 20 soldiers have been assigned to assist police in enforcing social distancing in southern Tel Aviv after large groups of African asylum seekers were seen gathering in breach of Health Ministry regulations.
A vehicle with loudspeakers driving through the area informed the public in English and Tigrinya of the restrictions and the importance of adhering to them as police were on hand to persuade residents of the area of the dangers.
The city municipality said they had been closing down local shops and businesses but understand the need to relay information to residents in their own language.
Police officers also dispersed beachgoers and campers near the shores of the Dead Sea.
Dozens were sent away and only a handful of people who live on the beach year-round were allowed to remain.