Following a late-night debate the previous evening, the Israeli cabinet announced on Thursday, September 24, that it had approved measures to tighten Israel's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown. A partial lockdown was only imposed on Friday, September 18, but, pending ratification on the measures by parliament, the country will effectively move into a total lockdown from Friday, September 25. The lockdown will include closing all nonessential businesses, only allowing people to gather in family groups, and the existing limit prohibiting travel over 1km (0.6mi) from home except for essential purposes will now also apply to protests and worship. Schools will remain closed and synagogues will close on Friday, but will be allowed to reopen at a limited capacity for Yom Kippur between Sunday, September 27, and Monday, September 28. Only essential shops and business sectors will remain open. A decision is expected to be made on Thursday regarding whether to close Ben Gurion Airport (TLV), the country's main airport, for outgoing flights. The tightened measures are expected to be in place until at least October 10, after the Sukkot holiday period. The cabinet meeting came after a daily record 6948 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday, September 22.
As of September 24, there have been 204,690 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel, with 1325 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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