Israel shutters bars, night clubs, gyms, cultural events

Israel reintroduces on Monday a series of restrictions to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, including the immediate closure of bars, night clubs, gyms and event halls, news wires reported. In public remarks at a special cabinet session on the health crisis, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had to reverse course to avoid a wider lockdown that could paralyse its economy, where unemployment is just above 20%.

A government announcement said that in addition to the immediate shuttering of bars, night clubs, gyms, event halls and cultural events, the number of diners in restaurants would be limited to 20 indoors and 30 outdoors. Attendance at synagogues was also capped at 19 worshippers, and buses would be allowed to carry only up to 20 passengers, the statement said.

After largely containing the spread of the coronavirus in May and reopening schools, beaches and businesses, Israel has been hit by a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks. More than 30,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 332 have died.

Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank imposed a full lockdown on Friday as new cases there surged. In all, there have been nearly 4,300 cases reported in the West Bank, with 16 deaths, and 72 in Gaza, where one person died.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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