Authorities in Israel have announced that a renewed nationwide lockdown will come into force on Friday, July 17, following an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. As part of the new measures, which will begin from 17:00 (local time), gyms and other indoor sports facilities are to close, and restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeaway only. Hotel restaurants may continue operating at 35 percent capacity. Government offices are to be staffed at 50 percent, and all in-person services are suspended. Gatherings will be restricted to 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, although nuclear family and work meetings are exempt. Additionally, nonessential services are to close on weekends, with stores, malls, markets, hairdressers, beauty salons, libraries, zoos, museums, pools, and tourist attractions to be affected. Pharmacies and supermarkets will be permitted to remain open. Beaches will be closed to the public from Friday, July 24. A decision regarding the closure of schools and summer camps is expected to be announced in the coming days. The wearing of face masks remains mandatory in public, and police have been actively enforcing COVID-19 regulations.
On July 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a "major outbreak" of COVID-19, as active cases passed 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began. This came following the partial easing of lockdown measures in June.
On June 25, Israeli authorities announced an extension to the entry ban on foreign nationals until August 1. Under the restriction, only passengers with a permit issued by the Israeli Airports Authority (IAA) may enter the country. The order also includes stopover flights for passengers en-route to a second destination. The Israeli cabinet has re-approved the use of counter-terrorism surveillance to track infections, a practice previously halted due to privacy concerns.
As of July 17, there have been 46,059 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Israel, with 384 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
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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