Police will step up enforcement of lockdown restrictions over the weekend given the continued rise in daily coronavirus infections, police officials said on Thursday
According to government restrictions, Israelis are not allowed to travel farther than one kilometer (0.6 miles) away from home or visit other households besides emergencies.
Police will set up 25 checkpoints along the nation's highways and dozens more within cities starting 6am Friday that will be manned around the clock.
Until now, checkpoints operated from 9am until 3:30pm and then again from 6:30pm to allow essential workers to avoid heavy traffic while commuting to and from work. However, police decided to beef up enforcement on travel restrictions given that fewer people work over the weekend.
"We understand how difficult it is for the public at this time, but we all must adhere to restrictions," the head of police's operations department, Commander Yishai Shalem said.
"Over the weekend, we are planning to hand out fines and make sure people do not flout travel restrictions without a valid reason."
Israel's top coronavirus health official said earlier Thursday that health authorities will demand the lockdown be extended by one week.
Prof. Nachman Ash told Ynet the restrictions could be eased when the number of serious COVID-19 cases, which has recently reached a record high, decreases.
"I hope we will see the start of the decline [in new cases] in the next few days, it takes time," he said. "We can see signs the curve is flattening, but cases still aren't decreasing."
He said the number of new cases at the start of next week as well as the tally of serious patients will be a good indicator on whether the lockdown should be extended and for how long.