ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו מקיים התייעצות בטחונית עם ראשי מערכת הביטחון בקריה, תל אביב
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: GPO
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Coronavirus cabinet convenes but no decision on opening schools, businesses

Ministers delay final decision on matter until Thursday; PMO attributes extension to still high morbidity rate despite weeks of closure and lack of data over influence of Jewish High Holy Days on national infection rate

Itamar Eichner |
Updated: 10.13.20 , 23:00
The coronavirus cabinet was meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the government’s strategy for lifting the lockdown.
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  • However, no final decisions were to be made Tuesday regarding the reopening of preschools and small businesses.
    ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו מקיים התייעצות בטחונית עם ראשי מערכת הביטחון בקריה, תל אביבראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו מקיים התייעצות בטחונית עם ראשי מערכת הביטחון בקריה, תל אביב
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said that the the delay stemmed from the still rather high coronavirus infection rate and a lack of final data on the holiday's influence on national morbidity.
    Israel went into its second lockdown in mid-September, after what is now considered a hasty exit from the first led to spiraling infection rates across the country. The new closure has led to a dramatic decrease in morbidity, with a contagion rate of 7 percent - down from almost double that just weeks ago.
    The Health Ministry reported Tuesday morning that 3,097 Israelis were diagnosed with coronavirus, still far from the goal set by health officials of lifting lockdown only when daily confirmed cases dip below 2,000.
    רוני גמזו בביתו של השייח מוואפק טריף בג'וליסרוני גמזו בביתו של השייח מוואפק טריף בג'וליס
    Coronavirus Czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu
    (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
    In an earlier meeting between National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Hezi Levi and other health officials, coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu expressed grave concern over the fact that despite the lockdown conditions, 3,000 people were confirmed to have been infected in a single day.
    In a consultation meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Health Ministry Yuli Edelstein and Science Minister Yizhar Shai, the four decided that the meeting will focus on the morbidity data and a systematic exit strategy defined by stages and criteria.
    On Thursday, ministers were set to meet again and in accordance with the latest data, make a final decision whether preschools and workplaces without public interaction would be able to open and restaurants would be allowed to provide takeaway food.
    ח"כ יפעת שאשא ביטון בועדת הקורונהח"כ יפעת שאשא ביטון בועדת הקורונה
    Likud MK Shasha-Biton, head of the Knesset's committee on coronavirus
    (Photo: Knesset Channel)
    Earlier Tuesday, the head of the Knesset's committee on coronavirus warned that the government has lost the trust of the public in its handling of the pandemic and must take steps to rebuild it.
    "We are seeing that our society has fallen apart and we must create a routine for life alongside the virus," Likud MK Shasha-Biton said.
    "The [exit] strategy should be one of caution and not fear - how we can cope with the virus while being wary of it," she added.
    First published: 18:39 , 10.13.20
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