Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has stopped easing coronavirus restrictions in Israel after a sharp increase in new Covid-19 cases. “There is a very sharp rise in illness,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “The first thing we’ve decided to do is put the brakes on it. We’ve stopped all the easings we were going to put in place in the next few days.”
Israel could already be facing a doubling of the infection rate within 10 days, Netanyahu warned. He urged the public to keep social distancing, wear face masks and maintain good hygiene.
The PM did not detail what planned relaxations had been shelved. Media reports say they could include reopening the national rail service, theaters and cinemas.
Israel has reported a total of 17,863 confirmed coronavirus cases and 298 deaths, Reuters said. The government eased its lockdown in mid-April and gradually allowed schools, businesses, shopping malls, beaches, shops and restaurants to reopen.