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Israeli Leaders Approve Lifting Some Lockdown Restrictions

Israel Lockdown in Jerusalem's Old City
Israel Lockdown in Jerusalem's Old City

JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel will begin gradually emerging from its nearly month-long lockdown on Sunday, Oct. 18 after government leaders voted to ease restrictions on Thursday.

The so-called “Corona Cabinet” voted to reopen pre-schools, kindergartens, national parks, beaches, the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Temple Mount. Businesses that do not receive the public may resume operation and restaurants may offer takeout.

The one-kilometer ban on travel will be lifted and people will be allowed to visit friends and families in their homes – so long as indoor gatherings do not exceed 10 people and outdoor gatherings do not exceed 20 people.

“The Corona Cabinet ministers decided that if in the wake of the opening, morbidity worsens and rises – the implementation of the exit plan will be halted and the restrictions will be reimposed,” the Health Ministry and Prime Ministers Office said in a joint statement.

Government ministers will meet on Saturday to create a separate plan for municipalities where infection rates are still high.

The government says the country must not go over about 2,000 new cases per day to continue exiting the lockdown. According to the Health Ministry’s plan, it will take four months to fully lift lockdown restrictions, but the measures can be reinstated at any time.

The Health Ministry on Friday reported that 1,608 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Thursday. In a country of 9 million, 38,355 people are battling COVID-19 and more than 2,100 people have died.

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